From Physics to Function

Organisers: Johanna Ivaska and Xavier Trepat

Date: 9 - 12 October 2022

Location: Buxted Park, East Sussex, UK

With the increased appreciation that physical forces are key regulators of all biological processes, new emerging scientific communities are forming around topics such as physical forces in cancer and mechanobiology in different biological processes ranging from development to homeostasis. Currently, there exists somewhat of a void between the biologists and the physicists working on these topics. The interests are shared but the communication between the two crowds is limited by the lack of a common language. On one hand, there are vast advances being made in generating tuneable materials, versatile biomimetic polymers and artificial 3D scaffolds, and these are linked to advanced modelling and understanding of the physical parameters of these systems. However, the biological questions addressed may have limited physiological relevance and lack careful consideration of the burning questions in biology. On the other side, the cell biologists/developmental biologists/cancer biologists lack contact with the physicists, modellers and material scientists, and are unable to connect their biology to the relevant physical principles and available methodology. They lack understanding of the theory behind tissue mechanics and the engineering skills to investigate them. They would benefit massively from closer collaboration with the “other crowd”.

Therefore, the main goal of this Workshop is to foster integration between physics and biology across scales, approaches, and participant backgrounds. The Workshop will be entail “biology-physics duets” – talks given jointly by two currently collaborating speakers, with different backgrounds. These will be accompanied by “solo” talks and relevant round table discussions on how physics and biology can be better integrated.

Topics will include:

1) Mechanotransduction from cell adhesions to the nucleus

2) Cytoskeleton mechanics and migration

3) Modelling of biological processes across scales

4) Top-down versus bottom-up approaches to living systems

5) How to promote cross-disciplinary research on biologically relevant questions

About Buxted Park

The Workshop will be held at the beautiful Buxted Park in East Sussex which dates back to the 12th century. The current house was built in 1722 by Sir Thomas Medley and is an elegant Grade II Palladian mansion set in 312 acres of parkland. Over the years it has played host to a number of high profile visitors including William Wordsworth, Winston Churchill, and George V and Queen Mary. Whilst it was a health hydro in the 1960s Gregory Peck, Dudley Moore and Marlon Brando were regular visitors.

Buxted Park is less than 25 miles from Gatwick Airport and 60 miles from Heathrow Airport. There are direct trains taking 1 hour 10 minutes from London Bridge to the village of Buxted which is only a mile away from the hotel.

Buxted Park Hotel
Station Road
East Sussex
TN22 4AY
Tel: +44 (0) 1825 733333


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The Company of Biologists is widely known for its excellence in scientific publishing and it now runs a successful high level series of Workshops. The Workshops provide leading experts and early career scientists from a diverse range of scientific backgrounds with a stimulating environment for the cross fertilisation of interdisciplinary ideas. The programmes are carefully developed and are intended to champion the novel techniques and innovations that will underpin important scientific advances.


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