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Keynote Speakers



Stuart Kauffman, originally trained as a physician, is a biologist and complex systems researcher.  His primary work has been as a theoretical biologist studying the origin of life and molecular organization.  His seminal models of autocatalytic sets, gene regulatory networks and fitness landscapes allowed him to develop an extremely influential account of the way in which self-organisation within biology can generate "order for free".  He currently holds a chair spanning the departments of biological sciences and physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary where he is the director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics.  A MacArthur Fellow and a Trotter Prize winner, his next book is due for publication in 2008.

Selected books:
  • The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993). OUP, Oxford
  • At Home in the Universe (1995). OUP, Oxford
  • Investigations (2000). OUP, Oxford


Eva Jablonka is a geneticist known especially for her work on epigenetic inheritance.  Her research with Marion Lamb is in the vanguard of what has been described as an ongoing revolution within evolutionary biology.  In their current book, they describe how the growing body of evidence for the evolutionary role of epigenetic processes is putting increasing pressure on the dominant neo-Darwinian paradigm.  Jablonka is a professor at the Cohn Institute for the History of Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University and was awarded the Landau Prize of Israel in 1981 and the Marcus prize in 1988.

Selected books:
  • Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution: The Lamarckian Dimension (1995). OUP, Oxford [with Marion Lamb]
  • Animal Traditions: Behavioural Inheritance in Evolution (2000). CUP, Cambridge. [with Eytan Avital]
  • Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (2005). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA [with Marion Lamb]

 



Peter Schuster is a renowned biophysicist, known for his work with Manfred Eigen in developing the quasi-species model.  His main research interests are bioinformatics and structure prediction of ribonucleic acids, the study of mechanisms of biological evolution by means of molecular models, the design of molecules for predefined purposes as well as the application of inverse methods in computational systems biology.  He is full professor of theoretical chemistry at the University of Vienna.  In 1992-1995 he was the founding director of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology and head of its Department of Molecular Evolutionary Biology in Jena, Germany.  He is member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, is the editor-in-chief of Complexity and is currently President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.  In 1995 Peter Schuster received the Phillips-Morris Award and in 1999 the Wilhelm-Exner Medal.

Selected books:
  • The Hypercycle - A Principle of Natural Self-Organization (1979). Springer, Berlin. [with Manfred Eigen]
  • Evolutionary Dynamics - Exploring the Interplay of Accident, Selection, Neutrality, and Function (2003). OUP, Oxford [with James Crutchfield (Eds.)]


Takashi Ikegami is Associate Professor in the Department of General Systems Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo.  He is a long-standing member of the Artificial Life community, with work spanning a diverse array of concepts, such as chaotic itinerancy, self-organisation, autopoiesis, and embodiment, applied to a range of behaviours including coevolution, learning, language, social behaviour and song, in systems of birds, robots, children, flies, cells, and even oil droplets.  These interests are unified by a focus on understanding the fundamental behavioural dynamics of embedded, embodied, evolving and adaptive systems.

Selected publications:
  • Artificial Life IX: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (2004). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA [with Jordan Pollack, Mark Bedau, Phil Husbands and Richard A. Watson (Eds.)]
  • Open Problems in Artificial Life (2001). Artificial Life 6(4): 363-376. [with Mark Bedau, John McCaskill, Norm Packard, Steen Rasmussen, Chris Adami, David Green, Kunihiko Kaneko and Thomas Ray.]


Andrew Ellington received his BS in Biochemistry from Michigan State University in 1981, and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard in 1988.  As a graduate student he worked with Dr. Steve Benner on the evolutionary optimization of dehydrogenase isozymes.  His post-doctoral work was with Dr. Jack Szostak at Massachusetts General Hospital, where his lab developed methods for the in vitro selection of functional nucleic acids and coined the term 'aptamer'.  Dr. Ellington began his academic career as an assistant professor of Chemistry at Indiana University in 1992, continued to develop selection methods.  In 1998 he moved to the University of Texas at Austin and is now the Fraser Professor of Biochemistry.  Dr. Ellington's lab continues to develop functional nucleic acids for practical applications, including aptamer biosensors, allosteric ribozyme logic gates (aptazymes), and internalizing nucleic acids that can deliver siRNAs to cells.  A next leap forward will hopefully be to develop synthetic genetic circuits that can perform amorphous computations.  Ultimately, though, Dr. Ellington's first love remains origins of life research, which oddly melds with translational research initiatives in that it is the ultimate biotechnology challenge.

Selected publications:
  • DNA computation (2001). Current Biology 11(9):R336. [with J. Colin Cox]
  • Synthetic RNA circuits (2001). Nature Chemical Biology 3(1):23-8. [with Eric A. Davidson]


George Attard obtained his first degree in Chemistry & Biological Chemistry from the University of Warwick in 1980. He carried out his doctoral research in the Chemical Physics group at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Professor Geoffrey Luckhurst. Professor Attard has been working with self-organised/assembled systems for the past 28 years and is the author of over 130 research papers. He is best known for his pioneering research into using liquid crystalline phases of surfactants as templates in the synthesis of nanostructured mesoporous oxides and metals, and for his discovery that biomembrane stored curvature elastic energy plays a key role in regulating membrane-bound proteins and in controlling lipid biosynthetic networks. His research activities are quite diverse in that they span the traditional disciplines of physical chemistry/chemical physics, materials science, biochemistry and immunology.

Selected publications:
  • Liquid-crystalline phases as templates for the synthesis of mesoporous silica (1995). Nature 378(6555): 366-368. [with JC Glyde and CG Goltner]
  • Modulation of CTP : phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase by membrane curvature elastic stress(2000). Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA 97(16):9032-9036 [with RH Templer, WS Smith, et al.]