DIMACS Workshop on Systems Biology of Infectious Diseases

August 13 - September 2, 2007
Aspen Center for Physics
Aspen, Colorado

Charles DeLisi, Boston University, delisi@bu.edu
Simon Levin, Princeton University, slevin@princeton.edu
Presented under the auspices of the Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology and the DIMACS/BioMaPS/MB Center Special Focus on Information Processing in Biology.

This special focus on Information Processing in Biology is jointly sponsored by the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), the Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences Interfaces Institute for Quantitative Biology (BioMaPS), and the Rutgers Center for Molecular Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry (MB Center).

Aspen Center for Physics

The annual physics-astrophysics program at the Aspen Center for Physics will be held from May 28 to September 2, 2007. The Center provides a place for physicists and astrophysicists to work on their research with minimal distraction in a stimulating atmosphere, and in a location of great natural beauty. Applications are welcome from any physicist or astrophysicist who has a serious program of research to be carried out at the Center. The Aspen Center for Physics is committed to a significant participation of women and under-represented groups in all of the Center's programs.


Equally important to the Aspen Summer Program are the informal workshops that serve as focal points on topics of current interest. Workshops are very informal, with an extremely limited number of talks so that participants have ample time for informal discussion and to initiate new work. Information about the informal workshop on Systems Biology of Infectious Diseases scheduled for August 13 - September 2, 2007 is below:

The mathematical sciences have long spurred fundamental and applied advances in the life sciences. In the modern era a number of major transformations are associated with specific individuals: the profound physiological analyses of Helmholtz, and the Crick theory of X-ray scattering from double helices, are only two among many. More recently a major cultural shift toward mathematics and computation has been forced by the Human Genome Project which would not have been possible, absent the methods of mathematics and advanced computation.

The subject on which this workshop focuses, infectious disease, is among the areas in which applied and fundamental quantitative science has played a major role for decades. Contributions range from differential equations models of disease dynamics in human populations--which provides, among other things, the basis for policy--to the quantitative tools of the civil engineer, which have increased life span by decades. More recently, advances in cell biology have transformed our understanding of disease related processes, including molecular changes that occur when pathogens infect cells; physical processes that underlie infection; and systemic changes in the host. We are now poised to understand the biological, chemical and physical determinants of host-to host transmission and changes in host range, and to begin integrating such understanding with changes in demographics, climate, globalization and so on. A central goal of infectious disease research is, therefore, integration across scales. This workshop offers a unique opportunity for physicists to exchange ideas with colleagues in the biomedical sciences on a range of topics relevant to emerging and remerging infectious disease, which cut across scales. These include the physical properties of proteins and nucleic acids and their interactions; the mechanisms governing the behavior of molecular motors; the physics of transcriptional and translational control; learning, memory and adaptation in cells, organs and individuals; and the dynamics of host-host and host parasite interactions.

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Document last modified on April 26, 2007.