Invited speakers

There will be four invited speakers:
  • M. Madan Babu, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge
  • Pierre Rouzé, BioInformatics & Systems Biology, VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, Ghent, Belgium
  • Thomas Sauter, Life Sciences Research Unit, Université du Luxembourg
  • Jeroen Raes, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


M. Madan Babu (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge)

Title: Intrinsically Unstructured Proteins: Regulation and Disease

Abstract: Altered abundance of several intrinsically unstructured proteins (IUPs) has been associated with perturbed cellular signaling that may lead to pathological conditions such as cancer. Therefore, it is important to understand how cells precisely regulate the availability of IUPs. We observed that regulation of transcript clearance, proteolytic degradation, and translational rate contribute to controlling the abundance of IUPs, some of which are present in low amounts and for short periods of time. Abundant phosphorylation and low stochasticity in transcription and translation indicate that the availability of IUPs can be finely tuned. Fidelity in signaling may require that most IUPs be available in appropriate amounts and not present longer than needed.


Pierre Rouzé (BioInformatics & Systems Biology, VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, Ghent, Belgium)

Title: From protists to plants, fungi and animals : eukaryote genomes are not born equal

Abstract: Since the incipience of genome-wide sequencing, more than a thousand genomes from eukaryotes have been sequenced and the low cost of the "new sequencing" technologies will suddenly bring many more on the shelves. There is a clear issue in making the best use of these data, finding and annotating the genes and other features from these new genomes. This issue has mainly been seen from a computer science perspective. I would like here to pinpoint another issue which has to do with biology. Most of the organisms which have been sequenced until lately were either fungi, animals or plants. Although all model organisms used and documented from a cell and molecular biology perspective are among these ones, this is nevertheless a minor fraction of the eukaryote phylogenetic spectrum. Annotation traditionally proceeds by analogy, either by searching for genes that are known or found elsewhere or ab initio by looking at recurrent features according to the knowledge we have of the molecular mechanisms of genome expression. Do we care about and know well enough these features and mechanisms, i.e. the way the information is structured and the way it is encoded in the lesser documented organisms which are going to be the bulk genome sequences soon? Having been involved in the annotation of such organisms, e.g. green algae, brown algae, diatoms and haptophyte we indeed came across unexpected findings which come as a warning of our capability to properly decipher the genome information content in such organisms.


Thomas Sauter (Life Sciences Research Unit, Université du Luxembourg)

Title: Modeling and Analysis of Metabolic and Signaling Networks using Bottom-Up Approaches

Abstract: The talk will introduce und discuss some key methods in mechanism based modeling of biological systems ("bottom-up systems biology"): Detailed ODE, constraint based and Boolean modeling. A variety of illustrative examples from metabolic and signaling networks will be given including carbohydrate metabolism in E. coli and apoptotic signaling in mammalian cells. To overcome the challenge of insufficient experimental data concerning model validation and parameter determination, possible strategies include identifiability analysis, reduced and coarse-grained modeling. In addition the newly founded "Luxemburgish Center for Systems Biology" will be introduced to the audience.


Jeroen Raes (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Title: Untangling microbial ecosystems using metagenomics: from the oceans to human disease

Abstract: Metagenomics allows a large-scale, unbiased insight in the functional and phylogenetic composition of complex microbial communities. However, given the complexity of these data, computational analysis is a major bottleneck. Here, I will discuss our experiences in developing methods for the analysis of metagenomics data and their application in eg. the global ocean and human-associated communities (the human microbiome) such as the intestinal tract. These approaches should lead the way towards an 'eco-systems biology' approach to the study of microbial communities and provide great opportunities for the study of the role of commensals in human disease.