3rd Les Houches School in computational physics: DNA, from molecules to evolution

Contents and objectives

The 2013 school will focus on the physics of DNA and evolution, a topic which is currently attracting growing interest from computational physicists, from those using a fully molecular approach to those involved in developing statistical models of gene networks or a multiscale analysis of the genome structure. Although they deal with a common object -understanding the complex mechanisms that lead from the molecular structure to actual evolution mechanism- these different computational approaches tend to evolve as rather separate fields. The idea of the school is to expose the students to a pedagogical and comprehensive view of the present trends in this particular area of computational biology and biophysics.

Full plan of lectures

This school will be organized in a relatively limited set of long lectures (6 lectures of 4x1h30) supplemented by evening seminars and presentations by participants (5×1,5h). The lectures will focus on computational and methodological aspects of the research, and the lecturers will also propose numerical hands on exercises that the students will be invited to practice during the afternoons, with the technical support of engineers from the Blaise Pascal Center of the ENS Lyon. The lecturers are expected to stay at the physics center for a large part of the duration of the school, so as to maximize interaction with the students. The following scientists have provisionally agreed to contribute as main lecturers for the school:

  • Helmut Schiessel, Leiden : Introduction to DNA physics
  • Richard Lavery, Lyon : Atomistic modelling of DNA
  • Juan de Pablo, Chicago: Coarse grained models of DNA
  • Alain Arneodo, Lyon: From DNA sequence to genome structure and function
  • Martin Weigt, Paris: DNA evolution and statistical genomics
  • Peter Rein Ten Wolde, Amsterdam: Biochemical networks

In addition to the main lectures the school will include seminars by R. Everaers (Lyon), O. Rivoire (Grenoble). Several slots will be reserved for presentations by participants.

Basic literature

H. Schiessel: Biophysics for Beginners a Journey through the cell nucleus (Pan Stanford Publishing)



  • Barrat Jean-Louis , Université Grenoble 1
  • Everaers Ralf , École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

Technical support - Exercices

  • Emmanuel Quéméner, CBP - ENS de Lyon
  • Cédric Vaillant, ENS de Lyon

Administrative coordination

  • Flora Ghéno, Ecole de Physique des Houches
  • Samantha Barendson, CBP - ENS de Lyon
Online user: 1