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2012 ASCB Annual Meeting

Cell Biology and the Physical Sciences Thread

Keynote Speaker: Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy

No one would dispute that living organisms must operate within the confines of the basic laws of physics and chemistry, and the thinking and methodologies of the physical sciences play an increasingly important role in understanding biological systems. We are entering an era in which more physical scientists are attracted to problems of biology, and biologists seek to use tools and thinking from computation, physics, chemistry, and engineering. We hope to attract physical and computational scientists to the meeting by providing them with numerous specially designed sessions (see below) through the Cell Biology and Physical Sciences Thread. For the core cell biology community, we are introducing a Frontier Symposium, Minisymposia, and poster sessions (see below) that will address topics of how the physical and computational sciences are being applied in biology. These will enable both junior and senior scientists to learn and think of new strategies that might pertain to their work. We will also have informal discussion tables and social activities that will serve to network scientists undertaking cell biology and physical science approaches


  • Workshop: Open Problems in Biology Requiring the Physical Sciences, organized by Julie Theriot, Rob Phillips, and Dan Fletcher
  • Special Interest Subgroups
  • Meet and Greet: All are welcome, especially those attending from the physical sciences and biotech fields or others who are coming to the ASCB meeting for the first time.
  • Keynote Speaker: Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy (public invited via online registration)


  • Frontier Symposium: Applying Physics, Engineering, Computation to Cell Biology, with Bill Bialek, Rob Phillips, and Margaret Gardel
  • Symposium: Synthetic Biology, with Jay Kiesling, Wendell Lim, and Laurie Zoloth
  • Pre-Minisymposium Tutorials
  • Minisymposia: Cell Mechanics and Intermediate Filaments; Molecular Motors; Physical and Computational Tools for Cell Biology; Regulation/Organization of the Genome; Signal Transduction/Signaling Networks; Cell-Cell and Cell-Matrix Interactions; Intracellular Sorting and Trafficking; Cell Polarity; Micro- and Coding RNA; Organelle Structure and Vesicle Formation; Actin Organization and Dynamics; Cell Growth and Cell Cycle Control; Development and Morphogenesis; Membrane Organization and Lipid Dynamics; Nuclear Structure and Function; Prokaryotic Cell Biology
  • Working Groups: New Technologies in Imaging; Visualizing Biological Models and Information
  • Science Discussion Tables: Informal discussions with leading scientists doing interdisciplinary research
  • Career Discussion and Mentoring Roundtables, with physical sciences representation
  • Specialized poster topics
  • Travel awards available for postdocs in the physical sciences

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