2nd International SystemsX.ch Conference on Systems Biology in retrospect

From October 20 – 23, 2014, over 350 people working in the field of systems biology traveled to Lausanne to participate in the 2nd International SystemsX.ch Conference on Systems Biology. The conference, which took place in the new Swiss Tech Convention Center at the EPFL, boasted a full scientific program including talks by world-renowned international as well as Swiss researchers.

The focus of this second conference was on systems dynamics in cell- and developmental biology and genetics, which demonstrated a natural development from the –omics-focused 1st SystemsX.ch Conference in 2011. According to Lucas Pelkmans, chairman of the SystemsX.ch Scientific Executive Board and member of the conference’s scientific committee, “the event was a great success, and showed that systems biology research in Switzerland is truly first-class and on par with world leading research in this field.”

In addition to the scientific program, the conference included three poster sessions with over 140 authors presenting their latest research in one of the five focus areas: theory and biophysical modeling, cell- and developmental biology, functional genomics and gene regulation, single-cell biology, and systems genetics and medicine. During these sessions, there was a great deal of lively discussion and exchange.

Alongside the scientific posters, there was also a collection of artwork from Swiss science photographer Martin Oeggerli. Martin’s painstakingly colored, high-definition electron microscopy images reveal the beauty of the natural world on a microscopic scale, and compel viewers to look at familiar subjects in biology from a novel perspective.

“The conference clearly showed that systems biology is maturing, both in terms of methods and concepts, and that it is becoming an integral part of the research landscape across the molecular life sciences”, says Pelkmans.

“The next development will clearly be the further integration of the systems approach into applications, such as the treatment of disease and the promotion of human health”, says Pelkmans in his conference summary. “We are therefore eagerly looking forward to the 3rd International SystemsX.ch Conference, which will be held in Zurich in 2017. This event will represent the conclusion of the SystemsX.ch initiative, and we expect it to showcase an even further sophistication of the approaches to studying the dynamics of complex biological systems, and their applications in the combat of disease and the promotion of human health.”