New Approaches to Quantifying How Animals Acquire Shape and Form

August 08, 2013

It’s a summer course like no other at UC Santa Barbara or anywhere else. Spread between the lecture halls of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) and the labs in the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) on campus, the new Santa Barbara Advanced School of Quantitative Biology is abuzz with activity. Here, participants — graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and even science faculty members from around the world –– rub shoulders with leading experts in the field and shed new light — literally — on the dynamics of morphogenesis. Morphogenesis is the process that converts the genetic blueprint of a multicellular organism into complex physical structure.

“This program is really unique in that it’s incredibly interdisciplinary,” said Michelle Dickinson, a senior lecturer (assistant professor) at the University of Auckland and a student in the course. “It’s physics combined with biology, and technically I’m an engineer so it combines engineering, too. It’s a great place to meet world leaders and experts, and live and eat and breathe the science that we’re trying to solve.”

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