NWO Life hosts 5 tracks. The tracks address the theme ‘Networks in Life’ at different scale levels. The tracks are similarly structured as and therefore named after the 5 research communities that have been set up since Life2019.
TRACK 1: BIOLOGY OF MOLECULES, CELLS AND TISSUES
‘Biomolecular networks within and between cells’
This track focuses on molecular networks within and between cells that underlie central processes such as metabolism and development in all domains of life. Knowledge and control of these processes is not only important for industrial exploitation of organisms and in the fight against devastating diseases, but fundamental to our understanding of the diversity, flexibility and robustness of life. This track covers a broad scope of topics. It ranges from the regulatory and metabolic networks inside cells and tissue patterning properties of intercellular networks, to the origin and treatment of diseases caused by perturbances in these networks.
TRACK 2: FROM GENES TO ORGANISMS
‘Genome regulation: how tissues and organisms form and survive’
How does an organism’s genome determine and affect its phenotype? Understanding phenotypic variation and physiological functions requires an understanding of how the underlying genome is regulated at different stages of life. This track focuses on the mechanisms directing development and physiology of tissues and organisms on the level of genome regulation. The interaction of (epi-)genetic and environmental factors in individuals and populations and in single and multiple generations will be addressed. This track includes the different fields of genome biology, such as genome architecture and stability, (epi)genetics, transcription regulation, as well as genetic disorders and their physiological impact, but also covers the fields of evolutionary genetics, and genetic responses to the environment.
TRACK 3: ORGANISMS IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT
‘Interactions with the environment: for better and for worse’
This track is about how organisms interact with their environment at the local (e.g. family, territory) level, and how this leads to beneficial or detrimental outcomes for the organisms themselves and/or the environment. This has both fundamental and societal relevance. Organisms are nodes in multi‐dimensional networks of conspecifics, predators and prey, microbes and hosts, males and females, parent and offspring. Organisms can therefore only be understood as a product of interactions with their environment. This track studies the interplay between biological entities and environmental factors from the physiological to the behavioural level with the aim to understand causes and consequences of individual differences.
TRACK 4: LIFE AND PLANET
‘Networks within and between ecosystems’
Networks in life on our planet are fundamental for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Within this track we aim to highlight the importance of these interactions, as well as the processes that affect the structure and stability of the networks on a species level and above. Understanding the role and function of these networks is crucial for the maintenance of ecosystems, and their vulnerability in the view of global change. In this track, we report on different biomes and organisms, but also focus on societal networks in order to manage or restore changes in ecosystems caused by human-induced stressors and disturbances. We target all who share an interest in the current challenges concerning biodiversity loss and climate change and invite them to join efforts towards a sustainable planet.
TRACK 5: ADVANCED METHODS, DATA AND ANALYSES TO UNDERSTAND LIVING SYSTEMS
‘Connecting the dots: novel approaches in biological measurement and analysis’
Progress in biological research hinges to a large extent on continuous innovation in measurement techniques, experimental setups, concepts, and approaches to data analysis and computational modelling. In this track we focus on these new methods and technologies for measurement and analysis that drive today’s scientific discoveries. We invite contributions on biological systems of all scales and all levels of organization: from the molecular to the ecosystem level. Today’s life sciences projects often require instrumentation, expertise and skills from a broad range of disciplines. To advance biological research, this track welcomes crosstalk between traditional disciplines (e.g. physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science) and technologies (e.g. machine learning and AI, imaging, -omics, engineering, nanotechnology, bioinformatics and systems biology). We expect contributions to go beyond pure technical detail and provide insight in the trends in the particular domain of research.