This conference is a very inspiring experience for me, in terms of both my own research project and my perspective on biology in general. Although the ocean was equally tempting (Figure 1), I managed to listen through every presentation.
As being someone who has passion in modelling, I was amazed by how many PIs and PhD students approach their interesting questions via mathematical models . Many questions are somewhat related to my project, and the diverse methods in model analysis expended my limited understanding. For example, Prof Balaban suggested a more formalized distinction between determinism and stochasticity (Mizrahi, S. P., et al, 2015), and in her talk she presented a parameter space of a deterministic model that shows chaotic behavior, which result is very helpful to my project–my goal is to use a deterministic model to explain the stochastic pulsatility of CRZ1. In this conference, I had many opportunities to ask questions and received instant feedback from researchers who are more knowledgeable in this field.
In addition to the resources of knowledge, this conference spread a relatively more ambitious goal in biology: discovering more predictive scientific laws in system biology. In the talk of Jeff Hasty, the founder of this conference, he ended up his presentation with an expectation of an understanding that is more than merely looking for correlations. For me, understanding how this world operates according to some fundamental laws always makes me happy. Although the noise in biological system is so loud that this goal is hard to achieve, the practices of quantitative biology could throw light on the path.
Figure 1. A quick sketch at 6:30am suggests that taking a suffering lesson before the conference starts is practical.