The international workshop and summer school on genome architecture and dynamics, funded by the National Science Foundation and co-sponsored by Rice University, took place in Varna, Bulgaria July 12-19, 2019. The four organizers were José Onuchic (Rice University), Herbert Levine (Northeastern University), Catherine Villard (L’Institut Curie, France), and Anastas Gospodinov (NAS, Bulgaria). Included in the Advisory Board was Rice University's Peter Wolynes.
The development of a quantitative theory of how cells respond to their environment and regulate their function is one of the most challenging and important problems in science. It has become clear that the structure an dynamics of the genome plays a large part in this response.The effort to understand genome structure and its functional consequences has attracted scientists and engineers from diverse research fields.
This summer school and workshop focused on the biophysics and biochemistry of eukaryotic cell nucleus and especially the genome contained therein. Approximately 60 students and postdocs and an equal number of scientists participated in the meeting, which included 7+ days of the workshop.
Leading scientists gave lectures during the first two days of the workshop. Lectures presented polymer models of chromosome organization and dynamics, statistical physics of polymer systems, theoretical foundations of phase separation in such systems, and ideas regarding the coupling between chromosome structure and gene expression.
Also, research talks and discussions addressed nuclear mechanics and chromosome dynamics, DNA looping and extrusion, the biophysics of gene regulation, replication, chromosome segregation, transcription bursting vs noise, splicing of premature RNA and how transcriptional noise is connected to splicing. The meeting addressed the structural transitions of the chromatin across the cell cycle, RNA and DNA induced liquid-liquid phase transitions in subcellular organization and their role in gene regulation and DNA repair. More details can be found on the conference web site