Functional Dynamics in Complex Chemical and Biological Systems (FUNCDYN)

Theme School on "Basic Experimental Techniques in Biological Dynamics"
Oeiras, Portugal - 5-9 September 2011

This school is aimed to scientists with a background in chemistry, physics or even mathematics. Participants will perform four basic experiments for the study of the dynamics of complex biological systems. Within this Theme School, first hands-on experiences will be provided on a selection of basic experimental methods used in the study of biological systems.

This Theme School organised within FUNCDYN is promoting the investigation on the dynamics of biological and chemical systems.

More detailed information are available at

Local organiser:

Technical University of LisbonInstituto Superior TecnicoDepartment of PhysicsNonLinear Dynamics GroupLisbonPortugal

Workshop on "Noise in Life 2010"
Benasque, Spain - 25-31 October 2010

The workshop “Noise in Life 2010” took place in the Centro de Ciencias de Benasque Pedro Pascual (CCBPP), in the spanish city of Benasque, from October 25th to October 31st, 2010. The meeting gathered 50 participants from 11 countries, including 34 speakers and 3 organizers. The final list of participants has been submitted online through the ESF website.

One of the main sources of funding of the workshop has been the European Science Foundation through its FuncDyn network, to which we are deeply indebted for their kind support. Additional funding was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and by the CCBPP itself, who allowed us the use of their excellent conference facilities and contributed to the actual financing of the conference. The recently renovated CCBPP building provided a welcoming and stimulating atmosphere for our scientific meeting. Specially valued by the conference participants were the excellent facilities of the center, which provided personal office space and ample room for scientific informal meetings, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling blackboards all through the building. The dates of the conference had to be shifted two weeks (from the originally planned dates from Oct. 10th to Oct. 15th) to avoid coinciding with the International Conference of Systems Biology, which took place in Edinburgh in the originally planned dates, and which would have impacted the attendance to our smaller, more focused meeting.

The workshop aimed to provide a unified forum for discussion and exchange of ideas addressed to researchers interested in studying the effects of random fluctuations in cell function. The topics covered by the meeting were:

  • Evolutionary consequences of noise (Eldar, Lehner)
  • Modeling and quantifying stochasticity in cellular processes (Phillips, ten Wolde, Wilkinson)
  • Noise in mammalian cells (Gandrillon, Paldi)
  • Molecular motors (Casademunt, Sancho)
  • Noise and protein dynamics (Phillips, Torcini, Vilar)
  • Noise and protein-protein interactions (Balaban, ten Wolde)
  • Multicellular dynamics under noise (Buceta, Vilar)

In parenthesis, we have specified those invited speakers whose talks dealt with the specific issues listed.

Detailed information about the event is available in the workshopʼs website, which can be found at, and which will be kept active in the foreseeable future.

Local organisers:

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)Mathematical Cell PhysiologyBerlinGermany
California Institute of TechnologyDivision of Biology and Department of Applied PhysicsPasadenaUnited States

FUNCDYN Theme School 'Simulation Tools applied to Calcium Dynamics'
Heidelberg, Germany, 14-19 March 2010

It is known for more than 20 years that intracellular Ca2+ dynamics is highly organized, both at the temporal and at the spatial level. Experimental and theoretical work also uncovers the need to take stochastic aspects into account for a detailed approach of Ca2+ dynamics. Besides its intrinsic interest, Ca2+ dynamics thus provides an excellent and realistic system to illustrate the usefulness and interest of modelling. The aim of the proposed theme school is to introduce students to the techniques of computational modelling by using Ca2+ dynamics as a prototypical system. Simulations will be performed using the software 'Copasi' (Complex Pathway Simulator) that allows to deal with ordinary differential equations and the Gillespie's algorithm, as well as using MatLab for dealing with PDEs. In the mornings, talks will be given by experimentalists and modellers, while afternoons will be devoted to tutorials and practical exercises.  

Number of participants: To allow each student to perform practical work on a computer, the number of participants will be limited to 30-35.

Local Organisers: Ursula Kummer (University of Heidelberg, DE) and

Université Libre de BruxellesFaculté des SciencesDept. Chronobiologie théoriqueBruxellesBelgium

Joint ESF-FUNCDYN and SFB Workshop on "Collective Dynamics and Pattern Formation in Active Matter Systems"
Berlin, Germany - 25-27 November 2009

The workshop addressed current topics in the study of active biological and soft matter systems in particular active motion of proteins and cells as well as collective dynamics and patterns in aggregates of microorganisms and phenomena in animal swarms, flocks and herds and related condensed matter out of equilibrium. Modelling aspects and fundamental issues of the statistical physics of active matter systems were discussed intensively.

In recent years, the theoretical understanding of active matter has been considerably advanced by using continuum models and agent-based simulations. In parallel, a large amount of experimental observations in active matter systems have been made and related specific models have been constructed. The workshop has discussed similarities and differences between these systems as well as universal aspects of active matter. Key topics were:

  • Continuum descriptions vs. particle-based models
  • Pattern formation and phase transitions
  • Hydrodynamics of active matter

Local organisers:

Physikalisch-Technische BundesanstaltFachbereich 8.4Mathematische Modellierung und DatenanalyseBerlinGermany
ESPCIHumboldt UniversityInstitut für PhysikBerlinGermany
Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinInstitut für PhysikDepartment of Applied Stochastic ProcessesBerlinGermany

Workshop on "Cardiac Dynamics"
Smolenice, Slovak Republic - 24-27 August 2009

Progress in the field of cardiac dynamics is important for understanding and interpreting cardiac function in health and disease. This multidisciplinary field bridges the gap between basic and applied research. The workshop ESF Science Meeting - CARDIAC DYNAMICS was organized with the objective to bring together top scientists from this field to discuss and advance theoretical and experimental approaches to cardiac dynamics from the level of molecules to the whole organ, and to disseminate knowledge to young prospective researchers. The meeting, sponsored by the European Science Foundation under the supervision of the FuncDyn Programme, took place at the Smolenice Castle, the Congress Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences on August 24 – 27, 2009 and was attended by 37 participants: 15 speakers, 20 poster presenters and 2 students/coauthors from 7 countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom and USA). Keynote lectures were targeted at the four main areas:

  • Electrical properties of cardiac tissue, propagation of the electrical signal, and arrhythmias
  • Electrical alternans, fibrillation, and defibrillation strategies
  • Calcium signalling at the level of cell and tissue
  • Mechano-electrical coupling

and consisted mostly of novel, as yet unpublished material. A substantial fraction of time was devoted to presentation and discussion of posters, the thematic orientation of which paralleled that of the oral presentations. Three meetings were devoted to the preparation of a book on Cardiac Dynamics. The closing session was devoted to panel discussion of the plans for future research and collaboration.

Local organiser:

Slovak Academy of SciencesInstitute of Molecular Physiology and GeneticsLaboratory of Molecular BiophysicsBratislavaSlovak Republic

Workshop on "Tissue Dynamics and Growth"
Barcelona, Spain - 7-8 May 2009

Tissue dynamics and growth illustrates how coherent collective behavior develops from the interaction of individual units (cells). Importantly, the emergence of complexity in this context relies on the crosstalk of a hierarchy of spatiotemporal scales, from molecules to cells and to tissues (and back) that ultimately determine the biological function. The objective of this workshop was twofold. On the one hand, we aimed at unveiling the “big picture” of these processes by combining the point of view of biologists and physicist. On the other hand, we also aimed at promoting collaborations between these groups and get them involve in the FuncDyn consortium. Thus, the idea is that the workshop was not simply a framework to present state-of-the-art research but, more importantly, a vehicle to discuss, collaborate, and learn how (tissue) functional dynamics appears. An objective that we consider accomplished.

Local organiser:

JavierBuceta FernandezE-Mail
Parc Cientific de BarcelonaCeRQTTheoretical Chemistry DivisionBarcelonaSpain

3rd FUNCDYN meeting
Cascais, Portugal - 2-5 March 2009

The Third ESF conference on Functional Dynamics, took place from the 2nd to the 5th March 2009, in Hotel Baía at Cascais, a beach resort 20 km West of Lisbon, Portugal. The conference had 66 participants from 17 different countries.

As decided in the Steering Committee of the Funcdyn program, in order to attract undergraduate and PhD students, the conference has been organized together with a theme school.

During the conference, the poster communications were permanently on display. Each poster presenter has been invited to make a very short oral description of the work, from 2 to 3 minutes. As the very first session of the conference was devoted to these very short oral presentations, the conferencees had the opportunity of being acquainted with the research work on discussion during the conference.

The main subject of the theme school was on “biological oscillations and the cell cycle”. The introductory lecture of the theme school was on the modeling of the cell cycle, and half of the afternoon lectures were associated with the theme school. The second part of the afternoons were devoted to the poster session and to scientific discussions.

The morning conference sessions were organized thematically, grouped around a keynote talk. The thematic keynote talks addressed the state of art of the research work in a specific theme, and the speakers have presented the very recent research works, some of them not yet published. Related with each keynote talk, short, 20 minute, talks with new results were presented.

Besides the thematic school, the conference talks were in the following subjects: Pattern formation and Turing type patterns on Belousov‐Zhabotinski type reactions; Calcium oscillations and calcium spatio‐temporal patterning; Cell cycle modeling, genetic network modeling and gene expression modeling, sensitivity analysis in the cell cycle modeling, general theory of feedback loops, and the irreversibility of mitotic transitions in the cell cycle; Morphogenesis and patterning of sea shells and the activation‐repression mechanism in chemical and biological systems; Plant and tissue growth models; Cardiac dynamics models; Predator‐prey stability models.

Local organiser:

Technical University of LisbonInstituto Superior TecnicoDepartment of PhysicsNonLinear Dynamics GroupLisbonPortugal

2nd FUNCDYN meeting
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, 15-18 September 2008

The 2nd ESF Conference on Functional Dynamics is aimed at bringing together European scientists working on the area of "Functional Dynamics". This field is devoted to investigating dynamical behaviour that is associated with the function of a system, e. g. in biological or technological sense. Therefore, the meeting wishes to encourage the interaction between scientists working on biological, technical, chemical, and physical systems with those whose expertise lies on dynamical systems and nonlinear dynamics.

More information is available here.

Local organiser:

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität MagdeburgInstitut für Experimentelle PhysikAbteilung BiophysikMagdeburgGermany

1st FUNCDYN meeting
Haslev, Denmark, 2-5 May 2007

The opening workshop of the European Science Foundation network ”Functional Dynamics in Complex Chemical and Biological Systems was organized as a four days meeting at 'Haslev Udvidede Højskole' located in the small town of Haslev 100 km south of Copenhagen. The workshop was attended by 55 participants from the 12 contributing countries plus Poland, and Sweden. The scientific objective of the FUNCDYN program is to establish a European research community in functional dynamics of complex chemical and biological systems. The aim is to develop new tools and methods for quantitative modelling of behavior, development and morphology of biological systems with special emphasis on the incorporation of dynamic information. A major goal of functional dynamics is the study of biological systems where dynamic behavior is in itself part of function. FUNCDYN supports the study of biological and nonbiological systems where dynamics is associated with some function. The main objectives of the meeting were

1. To reach a common agreement among the participating groups on the scope of functional dynamics and its delimitations toward related fields such as systems biology, bioinformatics, and chemical technology.

2. Discuss and define guidelines for the operation of the network.

3. Encourage networking between European groups, in order to stimulate future research.

Local organiser:

Preben GraaeSørensenE-Mail
University of CopenhagenNatural Science FacultyDepartment of ChemistryCopenhagenDenmark