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Biophysics: Searching for Principles

“Biophysics: Searching for principles”, to be held at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York in New York City on Sep. 14 -16, 2022. The Conference will bring together world leaders in theoretical biophysics, experts on the educational challenges in the field, as well as notable theorists in other fields of physics.

The Conference will survey achievements and the interface of theoretical physics and biology, focusing on exploring connections between theoretical biophysics and the rest of theoretical physics, as well as ways in which this field is unique. Finally, the Conference will aim to understand the challenges and opportunities involved in teaching the next generation of scientists at this interface. The Conference will additionally mark the achievements of Prof. William Bialek, one of the leaders of the field, in honor of his qualifying for the senior discount on New Jersey Transit.

We have solved the technical differences, and hence today the conference is live streamed on CUNY ITS YouTube Channel.

The Conference is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, The Center for the Physics of Biological Function at Princeton and CUNY, and the Initiative in Theory and Modeling of Living Systems at Emory.


William Bialek, Princeton University
Steven Block, Stanford University
Naama Brenner, Technion, Israel
Curtis Callan, Princeton University
Andrea Cavagna, Institute for Complex Systems, Rome, Italy
Lucy Colwell, University of Cambridge 
Michael Desai, Harvard University
Adrienne Fairhall, University of Washington
Irene Giardina, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Thomas Gregor, Princeton University
Steven Kivelson, Stanford University
Judith Klinman, UC Berkeley 
Marcelo Magnasco, Rockefeller University
Marc Mezard, ENS, Paris, France
Armita Nourmohammad, University of Washington
Jose Onuchic, Rice University
Robert de Ruyter van Steveninck, Indiana University
Elad Schneidman, Weizmann Institute, Israel 
Tatiana Sharpee, Salk Institute
Greg Stephens, Vrije University, Amsterdam
David Tank, Princeton University
Gasper Tkacik, IST, Austria
Massimo Vergassola, ENS, Paris, France
Roundtable Discussants:

Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Google
Serena Bradde, APS
Daniel Fisher, Stanford

Phil Nelson, University of Pennsylvania
Marc Potters, CFM
Katherine Quinn, Georgetown University
Sima Setayeshgar, Indiana University
Joshua Shaevitz, Princeton University
Boris Shraiman, KITP, UC Santa Barbara

Steven Strong
Eric Wieschaus, Princeton University
Chris Wiggins, Columbia University / NYT

Thierry Mora, ENS, Paris, France
Ilya Nemenman, Emory University
David Schwab, CUNY / Facebook 
Aleksandra Walczak, ENS, Paris, France
Administrative Support:
Tiera Ward, Emory University
Gouen Minshall, CUNY


Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

1:45 pm - Organizers, Opening Comments
2:00 pm - David Tank, Princeton University, "Cognitive maps and neural manifolds"
2:30 pm - Naama Brenner, Technion, Israel, "The biological cell as a learning system"
3:00 pm - Marcelo Magnasco, Rockefeller University, "Balancing: what, where, and what for? "
3:30 pm - Break
4:00 pm - Thomas Gregor, Princeton University, "Principles and rules in development? A call for theory!"
4:30 pm - Judith Klinman, UC Berkeley   *Virtual Presentation* "From quantum tunneling, to models for protein dynamics"
5:00 pm - Biological Physics Education Round Table, Moderator:  Joshua Shaevitz (Princeton University) 
Biological Physics Education Round Table Participants: Daniel Fisher (Stanford), Phil Nelson (University of Pennsylvania), Sima Setayeshgar (Indiana University), Boris Shraiman (KITP, UC Santa Barbara), Eric Wieschaus (Princeton University). 
7:00 pm - Reception

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

10:00 am - Steven Kivelson, Stanford University, "Heuristic bounds on superconducting Tc"
10:30 am - Steven Block, Stanford University, "(Still) Searching for Biophysical Principles at the Single-Molecule Level"
11:00 am - Adrienne Fairhall, University of Washington, TBA
11:30 am - Break
12:00 pm - Irene Giardina, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy, "Signatures of irreversibility in collective motion"
12:30 pm - Greg Stephens, Vrije University, Amsterdam, "Maximally predictive states: from dynamics to information and back again"
1:00 pm - Lunch
2:30 pm - Massimo Vergassola, ENS, Paris, France, "Revisiting fundamental limits in biological decisions"
3:00 pm - Lucy Colwell, University of Cambridge, "Deep learning for protein function prediction and design"
3:30 pm - Break
4:00 pm - Michael Desai, Harvard University, "Antibody binding affinity landscapes"
4:30 pm - Elad Schneidman, Weizmann Institute, Israel, "Linking architecture and function of spiking neural networks"
5:00 pm - Beyond Academia Round Table, Moderator: Serena Bradde (American Physical Society)
Beyond Academia Round Table Participants: Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Google), Marc Potters (CFM), Katherine Quinn (Georgetown University), Steven Strong, Chris Wiggins (Columbia University / NYT). 

Friday, September 16th, 2022

10:00 am - Jose Onuchic, Rice University, *Virtual Presentation*"Protein sequence coevolution, energy landscapes and applications to predicting large protein structures"
10:30 am - Gasper Tkacik, IST, Austria, "First-principles derivation of a genetic regulatory network"
11:00 am - Curtis Callan, Princeton University, "Exploring biological probability distributions with Bill"
11:30 am - Break
12:00 pm - Robert de Ruyter van Steveninck, Indiana University, "Optimal Estimation of Wide Field Apparent Motion"
12:30 pm - Armita Nourmohammad, University of Washington, "Learning the shape of the protein universe"
1:00 pm - Lunch
2:30 pm - Andrea Cavagna, Institute for Complex Systems, Rome, Italy, "Natural swarms in 3.99 dimensions"
3:00 pm - Tatiana Sharpee, Salk Institute, "Information-preserving population vectors"
3:30 pm - Break
4:00 pm - Marc Mezard, ENS, Paris, France, "Complex systems with structured disorder"
4:30 pm - William Bialek, Princeton University, "Predictions"
5:00 pm - Organizers, Closing Comments


Conference Registration

Registration is closed.