The Physics of Evolution
August 29, 2010 - September 2, 2010
University of California San Diego

Application period closed. Contact Christopher Smith for more info.

Workshop Organizers:

Herbert Levine, Physics/CTBP, UCSD

Terry Hwa, Physics/CTBP, UCSD

It has been famously said that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Statistical physics is playing increasingly important roles in quantifying evolution theory. This summer school will introduce graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the fields of biological physics, statistical mechanics and non-equilibrium processes to the opportunities and challenges present in the area of Darwinian evolutionary dynamics. These have been enabled by sequencing technology advances, a new generation of quantitative laboratory-scale experiments, and new concepts in theoretical approaches to complex systems. Topics to be covered include: modern genomics tools, microorganism experiments, mutation-selection theory, the role of recombination and horizontal gene transfer, and applications to both the immune system and to infectious disease.


The workshop is designed primarily for people with graduate-level training in physics, bioengineering and biology, .

Location & Format:
The Summer School will be held on the campus of the University of California-San Diego, in La Jolla (a coastal community about 15 miles north of the city of San Diego). The school will include a series of morning lectures on theory and applications, then specific research area talks in the afternoon. There are limited campus and walking-distance shopping and dining in the community surrounding the campus. There is regular public transportation (bus service) to downtown La Jolla (1-2 miles) and La Jolla beaches.

There is a $500 registration fee, which is waived for all invited participants, provided they attend the conference. CTBP will provide housing and meals (without cost) to all invited participants. Funds permitting, we may also provide partial travel awards to some invited participants. Participants will be housed in single apartments, and meals served in a dinning hall in the same campus apartment complex. School lecture halls and computer labs are a short walking distance from the apartments/dining hall. Typically, there is an off-site barbeque dinner and evening activity (for which there is a cost) for all participants on the last day of the workshop. Additional details will be provided during the workshop.

Participant Selection and Notification:
Review and selection of invited participants will begin on June 15, 2010. Applications will be reviewed and invitations to accepted participants are sent no later than July 8, 2010. Invited participants will then have 5 days to respond, after which time their invitation is voided and offered to the next applicant on the accepted, but unfunded list. This workshop will host 20-30 invited participants. Keep in mind that not all applicants are accepted. Applicants who are not invited, may participate in the workshop at their own expense, provided space is available. Contact Christopher Smith,, for space availability, and to convey your desire to participate.

Prospective Local Registrants (no housing provided):
Please apply through the online registration form AND contact via email, Christopher Smith ( The later is extremely important. We have found in prior workshops/schools that meal times provide very productive opportunities to discuss research and instructional content with presenters and fellow participants. We will attempt to provide meals (without costs) to our local participants, but we need to know who you are and that you wish to have lunch with the other participants.


Martin Ackermann, - Molecular Microbial Ecology, IBP-ETH

Michael Deem, - Physics & Astronomy, Rice University

Daniel Fisher, - Applied Physics, Stanford University

Jeff Gore, - Physics, MIT

Rutger Hermsen, - Physics, UCSD

David Kessler, - Physics, Bar-Ilan University

Michael Lassig, - Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Cologne

Dmitri Petrov, - Biology, Stanford University

Olivier Tenaillon, - Ecology & Evolution of Microorganisms, INSERM

Ilan Wapinski, - Systems Biology, Harvard University

Gene Yeo, - Cellular & Molecular Medicine, UCSD

* = Tentative