This meeting focusses on three broad areas of research relating to cellular communities, one of the core research themes at the Simons Centre for the Study of Living Machines:

(i) Emergence of phenotypic heterogeneity in isogenic microbial populations of cells. Topics include biochemical and molecular mechanisms, systems level understanding, and the physics of symmetry breaking and patterning in a cellular context.

(ii) Metabolic division of labour in isogenic as well as multispecies communities, highlighting genome network analysis, metabolic modeling, and chemical/biological approaches that conceptually address such phenomena.

(iii) Information transfer between cells, aiming to bring in more mechanistic insight to the above. Examples include quorum sensing using diffusible molecules, or nutrient and chemical exchange.

The meeting is intentionally interdisciplinary, and not narrowly focused. We will have a good mix of people from theory, modeling and experimental backgrounds, working with diverse model organisms, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic. We're aiming for a small, intimate meeting with short talks and lots of discussion time, where people would feel comfortable speaking about their latest ideas, especially those still under development.

This meeting is jointly funded by the Simons Foundation, NCBS-TIFR and inStem.