Many cancers are characterized by genomic instability. This often involves gross chromosomal abnormalities such as deletion and duplication of chromosomes or chromosome parts, chromosomal rearrangements and mitotic recombinations, generally termed as ``chromosomal instability''. Other types of genomic instability are characterized by an increased rate of small-scale genetic changes (such as microsatellite instability). The role of genomic instability (GI) for cancer progression is a very important, yet unresolved question.
Mechanisms of genomic instability are intimately related to many aspects of cell biology, such as cell cycle regulation, DNA damage and repair, cell aging and telomere function. On the other hand, the role of GI in cancer initiation and progression can be studied from the point of view of somatic evolution of cells, where mathematical modeling can play an important part. The goal of this workshop is to bring together people who study the phenomenon of GI from different prospectives, for extended discussions and learning. In particular we hope to start a dialog between experimental scientists and mathematical modelers and identify areas for cross-pollination between the two communities.
Theoretical approaches in the area of GI and cancer progression are still in the budding stage. However we believe that quantitative methods can provide an important tool in deciphering the mystery of GI. This is similar in spirit to studying infectious diseases, where mathematicians and biologists working hand by hand have generated many useful insights. We expect that a similar phenomenon will happen in the area of cancer research. This workshop is the first attempt to create a forum for experimental biologists and modelers of genomic instability, which will hopefully encourage collaboration and improve our understanding of cancer.