Mathematics of cell programming

26 Mar 2021 | 10:30 am

A one-day, in-person symposium and dinner at the Royal Institution on theoretical models of cell programming and their applications to biomedicine.

Cellular programmes drive the state transitions, identity and function of cells. Breakdown of these programmes can lead to cell death and the development of disease. Yet the external manipulation of these programmes can allow for the fine control over cell identity, with the potential to reverse cell fate through cell reprogramming. Despite experimental successes, mathematical models for predicting cell transitions and cell identity remain elusive. This is partly due to the complexity of cellular regulation, which involves processes across multiple time and organisational scales. It also stems from a disconnect between the research culture of cell biologists and theorists.

We urgently need theoretical models to catch up with experimental observations so that we can make this qualitative field more predictive. This one-day symposium is a call to arms, bringing together researchers from cell biology, physics, mathematics and machine learning. It is hosted by the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the cell-coding company Bit.Bio. This event will take place in the Royal Institution’s iconic Lecture Theatre, followed by cocktails and a private dinner held in the Library for symposium guests and invited friends of the London Institute. It will also inaugurate the move of the London Institute into the Royal Institution building, on the birthday of Lord Rumsford, the founder of the Royal Institution.

Financial support
For all attendees, the organizers will cover the cost of national and international travel and will provide a per diem of £123 plus £246 per night.

Staying safe during COVID-19
The symposium will comply with the COVID-19 policies of the government and the Royal Institution. For those who have not yet been vaccinated, the London Medical Laboratory will offer COVID-19 rapid testing on-site. The 30 attendees will have access to the Royal Institution’s large Lecture Theatre, providing ample space to distance.

10:30 – 11:00 Registration and coffee

11:00 – 11:30 Mark Kotter, ‘Programming every human cell type’
11:30 – 12:00 Talk 2
12:00 – 12:30 Talk 3
12:30 – 13:00 Talk 4

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch

13:45 – 14:15 Thomas Fink, ‘Fundamental restrictions on regulatory logics’
14:15 – 14:45 Talk 6
14:45 – 15:15 Talk 7

15:15 – 15:30 Coffee and tea

15:30 – 16:00 Talk 8
16:00 – 16:30 Talk 9
16:30 – 17:00 Talk 10
17:00 – 17:10 Closing remarks

17:10 – 18:00 Break: Guests freshen up before dinner

18:00 – 19:00 Drinks, Georgian Room, Royal Institution

19:00 Dinner, Library, Royal Institution

London Institute Symposia

London Institute Symposia are small research and technology conferences for up to 40 people that take place in the Institute. Symposia can last from a few hours to a few days, with attendees ranging from academic researchers to industry practitioners to the defence community.

Mathematics of cell programming

Speakers and attendees

LQ placeholderMark Kotter

Mark Kotter

Dr Mark Kotter is a stem cell biologist and neurosurgeon at Cambridge and the founder and CEO of Bit.Bio. The cell coding company’s mission is the efficient and consistent reprogramming of human cells to standardise biomedical research, enable drug discovery and develop next-generation cell therapies.

LQ placeholderThomas Fink

Thomas Fink

Dr Thomas Fink is the director of the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences. He studied at Caltech, Cambridge and Ecole Normale and is Charge de Recherche in the French CNRS. He works in statistical physics, biological modelling, combinatorics and the mathematics of innovation.

LQ placeholderSir Roy Anderson

Sir Roy Anderson

Sir Roy Anderson, FRS FMedSci, is Professor of Epidemiology at Imperial College. He was formerly Rector of Imperial, Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Defence and a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline. His research is at the intersection of medicine, biology, mathematics and computation.

LQ placeholderRyan Hannam

Ryan Hannam

Ryan Hannam is a postdoc at the London Institute & received his PhD from King's College London. His research interests centre on the emergence of multicellular life from genetic interactions. He uses tools from the statistical physics of complex systems and neural networks.

LQ placeholderRaffaella Mulas

Raffaella Mulas

Raffaella Mulas is a postdoc between the Alan Turing Institute of London and the University of Southampton, where she works in the group of Ben MacArthur. She recently obtained her PhD at the MPI MiS, with a thesis on the spectra of graphs and hypergraphs.

LQ placeholderForrest Sheldon

Forrest Sheldon

Dr Forrest Sheldon is a postdoc at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a visitor at the London Institute. He studied at Duke University and UCSD. His research interests include analog learning, optimal experimental design and meristors.

LQ placeholderRobert Farr

Robert Farr

Dr Robert Farr is an Associate Fellow at the London Institute and Senior Scientist at Jacobs Douwe Egberts. He studied physics at Cambridge and was a Senior Research Scientist at Unilever. His research interests include multi-scale and fractal systems and programmed cell death.

LQ placeholderMarius Wernig

Marius Wernig

Dr Marius Wernig is an Associate Professor of Pathology at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University. His research interests centre on pluripotent stem cell biology and the molecular determinants of neural cell fate decisions.

LQ placeholderBenedikt Berninger

Benedikt Berninger

Prof Benedikt Berninger is Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King’s College London. His research primarily focuses on how to initiate neurogenesis in the mammalian brain, by converting support cells into induced neurons.