This week, we hosted the biennial meeting on Cellular Dynamics & Models, which brings together experimental cell biologists with mathematical and computational scientists. It debuted at CSHL in the mid-2000's as the Computational Cell Biology meeting, and one of the features that makes it unique is the integration of software tutorials into the regular program. James Faeder, a longtime participant in the meeting, organized a tutorial at the 2015 meeting on a software package his research group developed to model and visualize biochemical reaction networks (BioNetGen), and he helped organize the entire meeting this year. We caught up with James for a quick Q&A regarding the meeting and its tutorials.
We have a great collection of leading researchers in the modeling community -- people who are developing all kinds of advanced tools for doing mechanistic modeling, statistical modeling, and discovery -- and we then combine many of those people with leading experimentalists who have a quantitative orientation, either in cell biology and molecular biology, to study signal transduction or metabolic regulation. By bringing these people together and getting them to talk, I think we foster a lot of new collaborations.
Actually, I was talking this afternoon at lunch with Tom Pollard and he said, “You know, I know about half of the people here and the other half is new.” It’s really great to be interacting with new people and learning new things about what people are doing. And you know many of these people are working on related fields. Maybe they’re studying different organisms so that you haven’t encountered them at the standard meetings you would go to, or maybe they’re studying slightly different molecules, or they’re using different methods, so we really learn a lot from each other.
Here's what James had to say about the tutorials:
This year we took tutorials from the abstracts and we had nice a turn out. That people want to do that and reach this community, I think is a sign that the idea of the tutorials is gathering momentum...It’s a great opportunity for people who do primarily experimental biology to come and learn about some of the tools, or for other modelers to learn about innovative things that other software developers are doing in the modeling community.
Thank you to James for taking the time to chat with us; and for more conversations with our other meeting organizers and course instructors, go here. If you're interested in learning more about what else James is working on, make sure to visit his lab's website.
Cellular Dynamics & Models will be back at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2019.