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3 days of exploring the frontiers of biology

Update 23 July 2012
(Latest updates on this page)

This first UW-Madison meeting on Evolutionary Systems Biology will explore a broad range of approaches that may help bring together evolutionary biology and current systems biology.
Due to the importance of computational models for this enterprise, this meeting is associated with a workshop on modeling languages and methodologies that facilitate the building and analysis of computational models.

This meeting will be an opportunity for researchers from different disciplines to come together and discuss diverse datasets and approaches for integrating them in order to arrive at more precise quantitative models of adaptive landscapes, living organisms and their evolution. Invited contributions range from structural, molecular and cell biology over population genetics, QTL and ecological analyses to mathematical methods for rigorous simulation, construction and abstraction of models.

Modeling language satellite meeting.
Evolutionary systems biology analyses critically depend on our ability to build quantitative models of dynamical systems and to automatically analyze them. In order to facilitate this, user-friendly model description languages are essential. While many model description languages do exist, it is difficult to identify languages that are both easy to use and flexible enough for research purposes.
How might such languages even look like? The purpose of this meeting is to invite feedback from potential users and gather ideas about how to make model building and analysis as easy as possible. What do you think? What would be your wishlist?
The outcomes from this discussion will be considered for implementation in evolvix, a new user friendly model description language that is currently under development in the Evolutionary Systems Biology Group at UW-Madison.

Key dates:

  • 30 July 2012: Full day Evolutionary System Biology meetings:
    Invited and contributed talks presenting different angles.
  • 31 July 2012: 1/2 day Modeling Languages Meeting:
    What would your dream modeling system look like?
  • 1 Aug 2012: Full day Modeling Languages Meeting:
    Talks, free discussion and integration of findings.


The workshop will be held in the 3rd floor teaching lab of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Address and Parking instructions can be found here. Directions from the Airport and Highways can be found here. Elevators to the 3rd floor teaching lab are located adjacent to Aldo's Café in the northeast corner of the building.If you cannot find the 3rd floor teaching lab, please check in at the Welcome Desk and a staff member will direct you to the 3rd floor teaching lab.
Address: 330 North Orchard Street, 53715 Madison, WI, USA

On Tuesday noon we will collectively move from the 3rd floor teaching lab to some room across the street in Union South for lunch and a continuation of discussion sessions. Just stay with the group and you will not miss it.


To register, please enter your name on the Doodle here and indicate on which dates you will be present. All meals hav been ordered by now, so please We will assume that you will be present in the session before the coffee/lunch/dinner. Registration is free, but someone has to pay for it, so please do use responsibly. Everybody has to register to attend.


If you come from outside and want to take advantage of UW-Madison accommodation discounts, please contact Beth Misco and put "EvoSysBio Meeting Accommodation Request" in the subject line.

Call for Abstracts (mostly for Posters)

Most slots for talks are already allocated, but we have room for posters. If you want to contribute to this meeting, you can submit an abstract for a talk or a poster. The most interesting abstacts requesting a talk will compete with other abstracts submitted in a similar time interval for the few remaining slots until all slots are filled, so it pays to submit as soon as possible. We will indicate on this page once all slots are filled.

Other qualifying abstracts will get the opportunity to present a poster. All selected abstracts will be added to this page and remain online after the meeting.
To submit abstracts, email

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Affiliations
  • Abstract text


Scheduled talks
Times and order of talks in the program below is subject to change.
TBD indicates talks, where the precise title has not yet been confirmed.

Monday, 30 July 2012: Emphasis EvoSysBio

  • 11:00 am Prof. John Yin
    Chemical Engineering, UW-Madison
    Toward predictive models of virus growth

  • 12:00pm Lunch break

  • 1 pm Prof. Karl Broman
    Biostatistics, UW-Madison

    Identifying and correcting sample mix-ups in high-dimensional data

  • 1:45 pm Dr. Leslie Turner
    Payseur Lab, Genetics, UW-Madison
    Systems genetics of hybrid male sterility in house mice

  • 2:15 pm Prof. Chris Hittinger
    Genetics, UW-Madison
    Balanced unlinked gene network polymorphisms: an interesting modeling problem?

  • 2:45 pm Coffee break

  • 3:30 pm Dr. David Baumler
    Perna Lab, Genetics, UW-Madison
    Investigating modern-day disease by using metabolic models of bacteria from the past

  • 4:30 pm Bryan Biehl
    Perna Lab, Genetics, UW-Madison
    Examining the Root of Plant Disease using Metabolic Models of Plant Pathogens

  • 5 pm Prof. Garret Suen
    Bacteriology, UW-Madison
    Using Systems Biology to Understand the Rumen Ecosystem

  • 5:30 pm Prof. Allan Laughon
    Genetics, UW-Madison
    BMP signaling in development: information content, scaling and dynamics

  • 6 pm Dinner buffet & Poster Session &
    Live Music by David Baumler

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: Emphasis Modeling Languages

  • 11 am Prof. Tom Rutherford
    Agricultural & Applied Economics, UW-Madison
    Algebraic Approaches to Bioeconomic Modeling

  • 11:30 am Prof. Laurence Loewe
    Genetics, UW-Madison
    Evolvix: a biologist friendly model description language

  • 12:00 pm End of session in Teaching Lab.
    (We will need to leave the room)

  • 12:15 pm Lunch at a dedicated room in Union South (across the street from the main meeting location). Just follow the crowd and you will be OK.
    Event rooms are on Screens in Union South and we will post the room here nearer to the meeting.

  • 13:30 pm Official End of the Day is after lunch.
    Madison is beautiful in summer. If you happen to be non-local, just let us know and we will put you in touch with locals that can take you to Memorial Union with a view to the lake...
    On the other hand, if you want to continue to discuss simulation approaches in a small group of like minded people, you're welcome to stay and we will find a room for that.


Wednesday, 1 Aug 2012: Emphasis Maths

  • 9:30 am Prof. David F. Anderson
    Mathematics, UW-Madison
    Stochastic simulation of biological modles through the lens of random time changes

  • 10:30 am Coffee break

  • 11.00 am Dr. Philip Poon
    Loewe Lab, Genetics & WID, UW-Madison
    Modeling of systems with delay: How to kill a pregnant rabbit

  • 11.30 am Justin S. Hogg
    Faeder Lab, Comput. Biology, Carnegie Mellon & Uni of Pittsburgh
    Rule-based modeling for biological systems: from fundamentals to the cutting edge

  • 12:15 pm Lunch break
  • 1:30 pm Prof. Gheorge Craciun
    Mathematics, UW-Madison
    Mathematical criteria for persistence and permanence in biological interaction networks

  • 2:15 pm Prof. Miron Livny
    Computer Science & WID, UW-Madison
    Experiences with the discrete event simulation system DEnet

  • 3:00 pm Coffee break
  • 4 pm Open Discussion: What should an ideal model description language do?

  • 6 pm Dinner Buffet & Poster session:
    Continue Discussions, Enjoy Dinner....


Symposium organizer

Laurence Loewe
Evolutionary Systems Biology Group
Laboratory of Genetics and
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
University of Wisconsin-Madison
330 North Orchard Street, Madison, WI, 53715
Tel: +1 (608) 316 4324