Lorentz Center - Training Workshop Interdisciplinary Life Sciences from 21 Oct 2013 through 25 Oct 2013
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    Training Workshop Interdisciplinary Life Sciences
    from 21 Oct 2013 through 25 Oct 2013


The aim of the workshop is to bring together 25 junior Life Science researchers and train them in modelling of biological systems based on ‘learning by doing’. This will be achieved by tackling carefully selected problems in modern Life Sciences. Students will work together during one week in small multidisciplinary groups supervised by an experienced senior scientist. Groups will identify the relevant system parameters and catch the problem in quantitative and predictive models. Important is that each participant is not only involved in the problem of his/her own group. They also learn from modelling strategies and results of other groups. This setup of actively involving young researchers in problem solving is supported by lectures in which techniques and concepts necessary to address modelling problems are presented.


The teams worked on the following topics:

- Modelling of networks regulating flowering time in plants

- Modelling of blood vessel growth

- Reconstruction of the gene network regulating branching Tomato


Splendid plenary lectures were given by Bas Teusink (Free University Amsterdam) on Modelling of Glycolysis and Bela Mulder (FOM Institute Amolf, Wageningen University) on Biophysical Modelling of Plant Cell Walls.


The teams worked hard and enthusiastic. At the end of each day the teams presented the progress of that day in a plenary session. This worked very effectively: sometimes the members of another team came up with a suggestion that was immediately picked up and worked out the next day.


The enthusiasm to work on the problems was that high that we cancelled the planned third plenary lecture. Our experience is that the number of plenary events must be kept low. If needed, the supervisors can provide an introduction on a modelling topic (e.g., parameter estimation) for the members of each team separately.


During the week there was hardly time to write a report. However, the teams continued the cooperation and produced three thorough and nicely written reports. These reports are loaded up to the PeerJ Archive for scientific reports. The team working on reconstruction was so inspired that they intend to continue this research in order to publish it.


In general, the participants responded that they had learned a lot of both modelling in systems biology and cooperating in an interdisciplinary team.