Complexities of Aging in Biological Systems

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

This workshop seeks to develop a deeper understanding of aging - a most familiar, but least understood mechanism in biology. Various schools of thoughts on theories, models and experimental approaches will be examined. The workshop starts out with mathematical concepts based on generic dynamical processes to get a sense of which features in the mortality curves of a population are generic properties to be expected, regardless of the underlying biological mechanisms. This theme will be complemented by a discussion of genetic heterogeneity in survival curves and aging in physical systems. Further, lifespan and aging will be characterized at different levels of biological complexity, from artificial molecular to multi-cellular systems, with various layers of regeneration and repair, and scalable design properties. The discussion will home into the aging process by considering the mechanistic aspects of genetic stability, repair and cellular functions. Methods to decipher highly networked processes, correlate data, and investigate capacities will also be reviewed in support of a more integrated view of aging. The workshop concludes with a definition of open questions and future research goals.

Andres Kriete, Bioinformation Engineering, Drexel University and Coriell Institute, Philadelphia
Walter Fontana, Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
Eugenia Wang, Gheens Center on Anging and Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville, Louisville

Please direct all program related inquiries to andres.kriete{AT}

Bus will leave the hotel 8 am. Breakfast at SFI is at 8:30 am. Sessions are expected to run 9 am to noon, and 1:30 pm to approx. 6 pm, concluded by a dinner. For local arrangements, please contact Wayne Cote at wayne{AT}

*** Program ***

Sunday, March 25
Arrival and get together at Santa Fe Hotel (6 pm), opening address:
S. Michal Jazwinski, Biochemistry and Mol. Biology, LSU, New Orleans, LA
"Individual Change and the Biological Aging Process"

Monday, March 26
I. Mathematical Models of Aging
Themes: Lifespan curves & stochasticity, survival curves, average vs max lifespans, heterogeneity explanations, models that serve as common denominator for different phenomena, are the mathematical models of the biology of aging unique ?

Ken Wachter, Demography, Berkeley, CA
"Aging from a biodemographer's viewpoint"
David Steinsaltz, Mathematics and Statistics, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
"Damage accumulation, repair, and aging"
Gregory Kenning, Physics, Indiana University, PA
"The end of aging in spin glasses"

II. Lifespan and Structural Complexity
Themes: From single cells to complex organisms, model systems, aging as an emerging property, layers of repair, lifespan and scaling laws.

Vincent Noireaux, Physics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
"Artificial cell based on in vitro expression: expressing, feeding, degrading"
Monica Driscoll, Mol. Biology, Rutgers University, Piscateway, NJ
"Age related decline, genetics and chance in a simple animal model: Do you need to be lucky to age well?"
Joao P. Magalhaes, Computational Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
"Integrative biology of aging: Finding simple answers for a complex problem"

Keynote address: Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute

Tuesday, March 27
III. Genes, Networks and Stability
Themes: Gene regulatory networks, development and aging.

Yousin Suh, Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
"Genetic components of aging"
Eugenia Wang, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville, KY
"MicroRNA, Cell Fate Maintenance, and Aging"
Stephen Proulx, Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology, Iowa State, IA
"Evolution of robustness or plasticity in dynamic gene networks"

IV. Processes and Bioenergetics, Damage and Repair Capacity
Themes: Modeling of dynamic processes, robustness and capacities, noise, waste management

Konstantin Khrapko, BIDMC, Boston, MA
"Mitochondria and aging"
Jan Vijg, Buck Institute, Novato, CA
"Genomic instability, transcriptional deregulation and aging"
Sean Stromberg, Physics, UCSB, CA
"Robustness and Fragility in Immunosenescence"

Jean Carlson, Complex Systems, Physics, UCSB, CA
Round table discussion

Wednesday, March 28

V. Open Problems
9 – 11 am: Discussions

An optional tour may be offered in the afternoon, depending on interest and weather.