2017 Cargese Summer School on Theoretical Biophysics

26 June - 7 July 2017

Applications are now closed

Download our poster!


  • October 2016 - applications open
  • 26 March 2017 - application deadline



  • Registration fees are 850 euros and include accomodation and lunches. Some help will be available for students who request it, depending on our funding situation.


Core lecturers

  • Ila Fiete, University of Texas Austin

  • Irene Giardina, University of Rome La Sapienza
    Collective behaviour in animal groups and biological systems

  • Michael Laessig, University of Cologne
    The physics of fast evolutionary processes

  • Rémi Monasson, CNRS & Ecole normale supérieure.
    Network inference and applications to proteins and neurons; continuous attractors and phase transitions, from neuroscience to machines.

  • Pieter Rein ten Wolde, AMOLF Amsterdam
    Cellular information transmission

  • Erik van Nimwegen, University of Basel
    Probabilistic Models in biology and evolution

  • Massimo Vergassola, University of California San Diego
    Biological sensing and decisions

Seminar lecturers

  • Danielle Bassett, University of Pennsylvania, "Perturbation and Control of Human Brain Network Dynamics"
  • Simona Cocco, CNRS and Ecole normale supérieure, "Reconstucting Fitness Landscape of Proteins from Sequence Data"
  • Thierry Emonet, Yale University, "Diversity and collective behavior in bacterial migration"
  • Jordi Ojalvo Garcia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, "Cellular regulation in space and time"
  • Leonid Mirny, MIT, "Cancer as an evolutionary process"
  • Stephanie Palmer, University of Chicago, "Unpacking the retinal code through the lens of prediction"
  • Silvia Santos, Imperial College London, "Decoding cellular signals during cell decision-making: lessons from hES cells"
  • David Schwab, Northwestern University, "Physical approaches to learning and inference"
  • Agnese Seminara, Université de Nice, "Olfactory navigation"

From the point of view of physics, biological systems stand out due to their complexity and heterogeneity. Living systems span many length and timescales, and are constantly kept out of equilibrium by active energy-consuming processes. Understanding their functioning poses a major challenge to traditional physical approaches. It is often difficult to predict the overall behavior of a biological system just from knowing, often partially, the behavior of their individual components. Can we understand how a cell tissue collectively moves in response to an external stimuli, merely based on the contacts between neighboring cells? Similarly, can one predict how a swarm of birds or insects react to a threat? On another scale, how do interactions between pairs of amino acids in a protein determine its function? How does a neural network encode information about the collective activity of these cells? Can we predict the next dominant strain of influenza by studying its evolution in response to immune defenses of infected populations? Despite their diversity, these questions have in common the emergence of a global and collective phenomenon from a sum of local interactions. Can we formulate these problems in a common language, and use it to make relevant and reliable biological predictions?

This summer school will bring students together with an outstanding set of lecturers to explore these questions.

Contact: cargesebiophysics2017@gmail.com

Perturbation and Control of Human Brain Network Dynamics