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Special Sessions

CIBB 2017 will host the following Special Sessions:

These will regard cutting-edge aspects of the rapidly evolving scientific context which CIBB refers to. Queries regarding each session shall be directed to the reference Contact.


Aims and scope

The bottom-up approach to the preparation of artificial cells is achieved by engineering self-assembling compartments with both natural biomolecules and synthetic compounds in order to reproduce cellular behaviors. These compartments, often called ‘protocells’, can be built according to a multidisciplinary approach involving chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering and benefit of physico-chemical and bioinformatic modeling.

Protocells could be designed in order to interact with the external environments and to accomplish specific tasks like: molecular communication, bio sensing, drug delivery, energy transduction, bio molecules and nano-material encapsulation. They can be then envisaged as a sort of bio-robot swarm that can operate in an isolated manner or cooperate all together for solving more complex biomedical and biotechnological applications in the fields of human health, energy storage, environmental remediation, etc...

The aim of this special session is to bring together theoretical researchers interested in cutting-edge methods to simulate cellular behaviors (including models in theoretical biology) and experimental researchers with interests on developping experimentally new bottom-up synthetic biology/bioengineering approaches at all scales. Relevant topics within this context include all the field of physical interactions between biological molecules, cell-nanomaterials interactions, molecular aspects of membrane assembly and transport, communication between cells, biosensors at micro and nanoscales, drug delivery systems, liposomes and encapsulation of molecules, synaptic transmission, artificial organs and contractile systems.

  • Fabio Mavelli, University of Bari
  • Pasquale Stano, University of Salento
  • Roberto Marangoni, University of Pisa
  • Maria Raposo, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
  • Emiliano Altamura, University of Bari

Paper submission deadline: 16th July 2017 (extended!)
Contacts: Fabio Mavelli (fabio.mavelli at uniba.it)


Aims and scope

Systems Biology deals with the analysis of natural systems at different scales of complexity, requiring completely different modeling frameworks and computational methods. Given that Systems Biology approaches are becoming well established, the challenge is now to apply the developed techniques towards the definition of personalized models in order to identify individually tailored drugs and treatments; i.e. to realize the Personalized Medicine paradigm.

The scope of this special session is to bring together researchers involved in the development of methods applied to the fields of Systems Biology and Systems Medicine.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • analysis of robustness of cellular networks
  • biomedical model parameterization
  • cancer progression models
  • clinical image analysis
  • emergent properties in complex biological systems
  • flux balance analysis
  • metabolic engineering
  • metabolic pathway analysis
  • model verification and refinement methods
  • models of neural activity
  • multiscale modelling and simulation of biological systems
  • parameter estimation methods
  • personalized models
  • reverse engineering of reaction networks
  • software tools for systems biology
  • spatiotemporal modelling and simulation of biological systems

  • Chiara Damiani, University of Milano−Bicocca, Italy
  • Paolo Cazzaniga, University of Bergamo, Italy
  • Marco S. Nobile, University of Milano−Bicocca, Italy
  • Riccardo Colombo, University of Milano−Bicocca, Italy
  • Giancarlo Mauri, University of Milano−Bicocca, Italy
  • Alex Graudenzi, University of Milano−Bicocca, Italy

Program Committee

  • Marco Antoniotti (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Daniela Besozzi (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Giulio Caravagna (University of Edinburgh)
  • Paolo Cazzaniga (University of Bergamo)
  • Riccardo Colombo (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Chiara Damiani (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Alessandro Filisetti (Explora Biotech)
  • Alex Graudenzi (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Paola Lecca (University of Trento)
  • Giancarlo Mauri (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Marco Nobile (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Pasquale Palumbo (Italian National Research Council)
  • Federico Papa (Italian National Research Council)
  • Dario Pescini (University of Milano−Bicocca)
  • Daniele Ramazzotti (Stanford University)
  • Andrea Roli (University of Bologna)
  • Roberto Serra (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)
  • Marco Villani (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

Paper submission deadline: 12th June 2017
Contacts: Chiara Damiani (chiara.damiani at unimib.it)

Molecular Communication: a new field bridging computational intelligence, communication engineering, systems and synthetic biology

Aims and scope

An interesting field that bridges systems and synthetic biology is the research on molecular communication which enbraces mechanisms at molecular (intra cellular, cell, and tissue) and cell-cell interactions scales. Examples are the bacterial quorum sensing, neuron networks, insulin feedback regulation, etc. Research on Molecular Communications (MolCom) in recent years has revealed powerful connections with communication engineering which provide an ensemble of quantitative methods and concepts (bandwidth, channels) that enables the tackle with different new perspective numerous challenges in medicine, synthetic biology, and industrial bioprocesses. Recently developed protocols of molecular communications, cell-cell signalling have merged with SBOL (Synthetic biology markup language) and SBML (Systems Biology Markup language).

The Special Session on Molecular Communication aims at a representing a new field combining computational intelligence, communication engineering, systems and synthetic biology.

The Special Session focuses on research potentials, aims to stimulate novel and breakthrough ideas, and outline short and medium term exploitation. We invite submissions in areas including (but not limited to), the following:

  • MolCom computational aspects in biological environments, including molecular signal generation, transmission, processing, and reception.
  • MolCom channel models, including free diffusion, microfluidic, in-vivo and in-vitro propagation.
  • Protocols integration: MolCom-ML, SBOL, SBML, CHEM-ML etc
  • Bridging MolCom research and Computational Intelligence.
  • Big Data Management for Molecular Communications.
  • Simulation tools and experimental testbeds for Molecular Communications.
  • Cross-fertilization of MolCom with Biostatistics.
  • Nano-computing paradigms, including neuromorphic computing, DNA computing, membrane computing, and biological computing
  • Applications, such as nanosensor networks, systems on chip, nanomedicine, tissue engineering, future and emerging applications.

  • Pietro Lio', University of Cambridge, UK
  • Gianluca Reali, University of Perugia, Italy

Paper submission deadline: 20th July 2017 (extended!)
Contacts: Pietro Lio' (pl219 at cam.ac.uk)

Tutorial: An Introduction to the Well-Being Technology


The World Economic Forum has calculated that mental illnesses will represent the costliest diseases globally in the next two decades, exceeding the cost of cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases combined. Additionally, neuro- degenerative diseases that include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and associated disability and dementia are fast becoming one of the leading challenges for health-care systems due to rapidly ageing demographics.

In the last two decades in many states the cost for chronic diseases, often linked to bad lifestyles, has become one of the largest items of government spending. By a complementary point of view, some researchers in Economics propose the Gross National Happiness to describe the standard of living of a country, instead of using Gross Domestic Product (S. Hargens, 2002).

This tutorial is about the "Well-Being Technology", a term that concerns the synergistic usage of technologies such as m-Health, wearable and ambient sensors, (Serious) Game Design, Gamification, IoT, Virtual Reality, Computational Intelligence, and Data Mining to the design of systems supporting the development of wellness and human potential, in the frame of the Positive Psychology approach (M. Seligman & M. Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). "Well-Being Technology" is then a synonymous of "Positive Computing" (R. Calvo & P. Dorian, 2014) and also of “Orange Technologies” (J-F Wang, 2009). Systems based on Well-Being Technology can contribute to the change of people's mindset, improving their mood and wellness, to the early diagnosis of cognitive illness and to the cognitive rehabilitation.

I'll present also some on-going research projects of my research group on the dyslexia and on the monitoring of physical and social activity of fragile people, and some new research directions.

  • Francesco Masulli, University of Genova, Italy

Contacts: Francesco Masulli (francesco.masulli at unige.it)