SystemsX.ch/SIB Joint Autumn School 2015
Systems modeling workshop very well received
A condensed overview of existing modeling approaches, a lot of practical training and the opportunity to interact with specialists in different fields of modeling: that was this year’s SystemsX.ch/SIB Joint Autumn School. 27 young researchers took part in the workshop from November 8-12, 2015 in Schwarzenberg and took home new concepts and modeling knowledge that they will be able to apply in their own scientific research.
The Autumn School 2015 was designed as a practical modeling course with introductory lectures on a range of topics followed by hands-on modeling sessions, each focusing on a different modeling method. The participants learned how to model and simulate metabolic networks, gene regulatory networks, population genetics and genomics models.
“The speakers did a very good job of providing a basic understanding of the biological processes and various modeling approaches, along with their strengths and weaknesses”, summarizes Katarzyna Sikora from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. Susan Schlegel, ETH Zurich, liked the lectures, too: “My personal highlight was the presentation and accompanying exercise by Joshua Payne. He managed to confer biological and modeling principles in a way that was intelligible to participants with different backgrounds”, she says.
Even if they felt challenged by the number of different programing languages introduced in the course, Katarzyna Sikora and Susan Schlegel feel quite confident in applying the modeling knowledge they acquired in their daily research work. “With some additional hands-on training I am positive that I can apply some of the concepts to my own research and begin modeling myself,” says Schlegel. Sikora adds: “I look forward to applying some of this new knowledge to the plentiful data collected in our lab.”
As a social activity, the participating postdocs, PhD students, lecturers and organizing staff visited the glassworks at Hergiswil, where they had the opportunity to try their hand at glass blowing.
Overall, the course scores high marks. “I would definitely recommend the Autumn School as an intensive and thorough course on modeling,” says Katarzyna Sikora. “It brings you into contact with specialists from the field as well as with state-of-the-art methods you might not otherwise have had access to.”