Description and aim of the workshop
The workshop aims to generate novel insights and discover new possibilities at the interface of two disciplines roughly annotated as Lab-on-a-Chip technology and cell biology. The first days common concepts have to be introduced starting from a common physical phenomenon: fluid flow in confined space. In the engineering world fluid flow is optimized to satisfy design and application constraints, while in cell biology fluid flow is part of largely unknown systems optimized to sustain life. Both fields evolve by adaptive cycles where the design is continuously fitted to system constraints. As the number of adaptive cycles is much larger in cell biology than in engineering, it can be expected that biological systems still hide optimized solutions or constructions that give life its stability, robustness and adaptiveness and those may be highly useful for engineers. Conversely, many engineering tools could be highly useful for biologists but are yet unknown to them.
The aim of the workshop is to generate productive brain waves between members of both communities. This is done in two ways: by selecting speakers that can introduce their research field in a way accessible to both communities and by organising the discussions around five selected central themes: signalling, systems biology, stem cells and differentiation, tissue (engineering) and embryology and small organisms.
Central questions are posed from a cell biological perspective:How do signals propagate in cellular systems? What signals are used and why? What are the biological modules and how are they organized? Can we localize pathways? What are the major switches in cell adaptation (e.g., differentiation, proliferation or apoptosis)? What signal does trigger cell adaptation? How do tissues and organs develop? How is cellular cooperativity organized?
We of course cannot expect to obtain answers to any of those questions during this workshop but we can discover how expertises from both fields can be combined to fruitfully address them.
The diversity in the background of the participants guarantees that new questions will arise and new approaches to answering them will be formulated. The central role of the organisers will be to stimulate and coordinate this interaction during the workshop.