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Signals, Decisions and Meaning
November 14-16, 2003 -- Irvine, CA

Conference Presentations
Conference presentations (slides and audio) are available online. 

About the Conference
The first year's interdisciplinary research conference focused on "Signals, Decisions and Meaning in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering".  Sessions emphasizing qualitative, quantitative, and conceptual approaches to Signaling included substantial question and answer time so that each topic could be thoroughly explored.  The conference focused on commonalties between fields while retaining concrete, detailed, and representative examples from single disciplines.  The program, developed by a Planning Committee chaired by Marc Kirschner of Harvard Medical School, included sessions on “Spontaneous Evolution of Modularity in Evolved and Engineered Systems”, “Feedback Control and the Generation of Oscillatory and Bistable Behavior”, and “Distributed Decision Making with Limited Information”.  The conference was held at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies on November 14-16, 2003, in Irvine, California.

Follow-on Conferences
The Futures Initiative Signaling Steering committee invited research participants at the National Futures Signaling Conference to plan one of a series of follow-on conferences to stimulate local, regional, and national interdisciplinary collaboration related to signaling.  These conferences may take different forms including a local or regional interdisciplinary conference focusing on a broader aspect of signaling or a national interdisciplinary conference discussing a more focused aspect of signaling highlighted at the November Signaling conference, etc. 

Mathematical Models in Signaling Systems
June 16-18, 2004, Vanderbilt University

Co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee and the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, this meeting brought together biologists, physicists, mathematicians and computational scientists to assess the state of the art in quantitative modeling of signal transduction networks. The meeting identified a set of methods and ideas and traced future directions for this emerging field.  Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, Institute for Systems Biology, was the keynote speaker.  Session topics included Detailed Local Models of Signaling Pathways, Cellular Models and Spatial Complexity, Experimental Approaches to Understanding Networks, and Analysis of Network Architecture.  Conference presentations (slides and audio) and summary are available online.    

Computational Chronobiology
January 6-8, 2005, Beckman Center

Organized by Terry Sejnowski, The Salk Institute, and Martha Gillette, University of Illinois, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Computational Chronobiology Workshop was held on January 6 - 8, 2005 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, California. The workshop’s goal was to understand how complex biological systems self organize and interact with each other through time.  Conference presentations (slides and audio) and summary (in Science August 19, 2005) are available online.  

Life Engineering, August 19-20, 2005
University of California, San Francisco, Mission Bay Campus

Organized by Chris Voigt, UCSF, and UC Berkeley scientists Jay Keasling and Adam Arkin, the symposium was held August 19-20, 2005 at UCSF.  It was also sponsored by California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), Lawrence Berkeley National Lab - Department of Synthetic Biology, and the University of Oxford.  This symposium examined applications for the synthetic design and construction of biological systems.  Topics included: the use of DNA for a programmable substrate (Ehud Shapiro, Weizmann Institute of Science), the design of synthetic bacteria to produce malaria drugs (Jay Keasling, University of California - Berkeley) and fight cancer (John Pawelek, Yale University), and programming stem cells (David Schaffer, University of California - Berkeley).  In addition, future applications of synthetic biology was discussed as well as legal and ethical issues.  Conference presentations (slides and audio) are available online.   An overview of the conference can be viewed at http://www.qb3.org/lifeengineering.htm.   The conference summary was printed in Nature Chemical Biology November 2005.