This interdisciplinary course that lies at the intersection of diverse traditionally separate research fields, including developmental biology, molecular biology, systems biology, modeling, evolution and functional genomics will consist of lectures, discussion sessions and hands-on experimental sessions. The purpose of this course is to orient the young minds for cross-disciplinary training essential for system level understanding of the genomic regulatory mechanism that governs developmental processes.
Development of multicellular organism from a single cell zygote requires well-orchestrated activation of a plethora of genes throughout developmental time and space that directs the sequence of events governing the formation of body plan. Understanding the genomic regulatory mechanism that executes proper reiteration of the expression of developmental genes in each generation of each animal species and its role in the evolution of body plan is a pertinent issue that intrigues the scientific community. The turn of this century has witnessed the emergence of a highly valuable and exciting new field drawing much attention of scientists from various backgrounds that deals with the complex and intricate networks of regulatory interactions among transcription factors and signaling molecules, hardwired in the genome, that control gene expression involved in defining spatial organization, morphogenesis, and differentiation of cell types. Generally termed as “Developmental Gene Regulatory Networks (DGRNs),” they provide the specific causal links between inherited genomic regulatory program and the process of development. Understanding how the “algorithm” of the genome controls developmental processes requires a unique interdisciplinary mix of theoretical and experimental biologists working in different disciplines, including computer science, mathematics, genomics, molecular biology and developmental biology. This course intends to provide an unifying platform bringing advanced graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and professional scientists from different disciplines and train them in a comprehensive theory of DGRN structure, diverse models of DGRN and various computational platforms for representation of DGRNs.