The origin of the workshop is the result of long-term discussions between NRC and the mathematics institutes, CRM, Fields and PIMS.
First of all and most important, the workshop is intended to explore possible joint research activities between the NRC labs and industry on the one hand and researchers in the Canadian universities, especially those who have developed specific mathematical expertise, on the other hand, on the general subject of computational biology (taken in a broad sense). Thus the workshop will provide an opportunity to seek possible common research interests and complementary methods or point of views between the two milieux. The ultimate goal is to see whether or not there is a genuine interest in interacting at a scientific level (if so, there might well be several ways to push this experience further in the coming months). The workshop should also give the opportunity to learn about foreign experiences, especially in the US and in France, where there have been efforts to launch initiatives that have led to the emergence of a genuine "computational community".
A further purpose of the workshop is to broaden the scientific interaction between biologists and mathematicians, to address biologists' concern that their models are so simplistic that they will not be challenging to mathematics; whether mathematics can provide approaches to seemingly intractable problems of biology, and to provide direction to mathematicians about new domains that will need study.
In the workshop, rather than solely looking for areas of research that are challenging, we will be looking for areas where computational biology could provide a preferential edge - faster, more effective drug development, vaccines or seeds, etc. So, the perspective of NRC researchers and research managers coming to the workshop may well also be "how can mathematics improve my work" rather than only looking for purely
speculative research collaborations.
Here is a list of the main themes of the workshop:
- Biomedical data analysis
- Mass spectrometry and proteomics
- Computational structural biology
- Protein-protein interaction, Pathway modeling and Biological networks
- Genomics analysis