Control Engineering Concepts in Systems- and Synthetic Biology

Control theory has been successfully applied in engineering to build stable and reliably behaving devices. How can concepts developed in control engineering help us understand regulation in biological systems and how to develop reliable, integrated medical devices? In this workshop we will present and discuss some of the existing and novel concepts of control theory and how they can be applied in biotechnology and medical engineering.​

Understanding principles of how biological systems maintain their function in response to environmental perturbations is fundamental to understand the physiology of organisms, how to manipulate them in a biotechnological context, or how to re-establish homeostatic control in disease. Principles from control engineering have been applied to derive fundamental understanding of how homeostasis is achieved or may become disrupted in biological systems. Conversely, biological systems may provide ideas of novel means to create robust regulatory mechanisms that can improve engineering. The workshop aims to present basic principles as well as novel developments in this field. It also aims to show how control engineering principles can be linked to mechanistic molecular kinetics. Thus, quantitative measures of control can be formulated in terms of molecular properties. This will allow a quantitative description of how molecular mechanisms orchestrate regulation of biological processes.

The workshop is organized by Peter Ruoff, Tormod Drengstig and Kristian Thorsen at the University of Stavanger in collaboration with the Centre for Digital Life Norway. The workshop is supported by the National research school for bioinformatics, biostatistics and systems biology ( and the Digital Life Norway research school ( Members of these research schools may apply for support for travel and accommodation costs for attending this workshop.

Invited speakers

Olivier Bernard, BIOCORE, INRIA, France

Brian Ingalls, University of Waterloo, Canada

Krishnan, Imperial College of London, UK

Hans Stigter, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Zhe Tang, University of Toronto, Canada

Jens Timmer, University of Freiburg, Germany

Register using this link.


(Subject to modifications)

Day 1
SESSION 1. Modeling of biological systems, and principles for control and regulation
09:00-09:15 Peter RuoffWelcome to the workshop
09:15-10:00 Brian IngallsModel-based design for synthetic biology: controllers and characterization
10:00-10:15 Discussions and coffee break
10:15-11:00 Kristian ThorsenPrinciples for feedback and control in biological systems and an example of a feedback controller for increased copper tolerance in yeast
11:00-11:15 Discussions and coffee break

1200-1300 Lunch

SESSION 2. Engineering approaches to biological and biomedical systems
13:00-13:30 Anders Lyngvi FougnerMathematical modeling in Artificial Pancreas Trondheim
13:30-14:00 Claudia Lopez ZazuetaSimple mathematical models for control in Artificial Pancreas
14:00-14:20 Discussions and coffee break
14:20-15:00 Hasti KhoshamadiCellML for modeling of biomedical processes
15:00-15:15 Discussions and coffee break
15:15-16:00 KrishnanSystems engineering approaches for dissecting information processing in natural and engineered cells

19:00-22:00 Dinner and socializing: Vannari food and wine cellar

Day 2
SESSION 3. Modeling biological systems, and learning from models

09:00-09:45 Olivier BernardHighlighting feedback mechanisms to control the metabolism of microalgae under dynamical conditions
09:45-10:00 Discussions and coffee break
10:00-10:30 Cansu UlusekerModeling antimicrobial resistance gene transfer in wastewater treatment plants
10:30-11:00 Zhe Tang: Design principles underlying robustly-nearly-homeostatic biological networks
11:00-11:15 Discussions and coffee break
11:15-11:45 Daniel M. TveitModeling regulatory mechanisms behind sustained glucose uptake in growing cancer cells

12:00-13:00 Lunch

SESSION 4. Model reduction, identifiability, observability
13:00-13:45 Hans StigterStructural identifiability and the SVD method
13:45-14:00 Discussions and coffee break
14:00-14:30 Håvard FrøysaModel reduction and identifiability in dynamical models of metabolic pathways
14:30-15:00 Open short talks
15:00-15:15 Discussions and coffee break
15:15-16:00 Jens TimmerUncertainty analysis in systems biology

Day 3 (optional): Walkshop: Hike to the Pulpit Rock or alternative Boat Trip from Stavanger to the Lysefjord (picture from Visit Norway).

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Information about the event

  • Time:
    20. — 22. May 2019
  • Place:
    Måltidets Hus, UiS
  • Event type:
Related project


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