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Principles of Microbial Adaptation
Description and Aim
Living cells, microorganisms in particular, display an amazing capacity to adapt to new conditions. Some exploit chance events to diversify their phenotypes in order to prepare for sudden extinction- threatening conditions. Many microorganisms appear to tune their physiological state to achieve a maximal growth rate. They can allocate limited biosynthetic resources of diverse cellular tasks in order to maximise fitness in complex environments.
Researchers from different disciplines are currently actively pursuing to unravel the principles of microbial phenotypic plasticity. Complementary approaches are being exploited, most of them combining quantitative experiments and theory.
What is clear is that simply knowing the molecular biology of the associated regulatory circuitry is insufficient. We also need to elucidate the network, its control objectives, its physicochemical constraints and its relation to the context of cell physiology. What was considered a dream about 15 years ago, when systems biology started, is now becoming reality: on the horizon a single theory of microbial phenotypic plasticity is emerging, relating concepts from several disciplines, including evolutionary biology, control and systems theory, physics, mathematics and cell physiology.
The aim of this workshop is to bring scientists from different disciplines together, and use the workshop to try and formulate a unifying theory of microbial adaptation. In this workshop we will therefore critically evaluate how the different parts of current existing theory relate to one another, how they overlap or differ, and which parts are experimentally best supported.