Biological Cell Information Processing Workshop at the Conference on Unconventional Computation & Natural Computation 2015

To be held on the 4th of September, 2015 as part of UCNC from 31 August – 4 September

Advances in experimental and computational techniques for exploring biological cellular function, both within individual cells and across populations of cells, have led to the revealing of increasingly complex systems of interacting processes. Cells respond to a myriad of mechanical and chemical signals from neighbouring cells, structures and the wider environment. These signals cause changes in cell behaviour including the production of other signals, both internal and external to the cell, and control of gene expression. Considering the initiating signals and latent information as ‘inputs’, and subsequent signals and behaviours as ‘outputs’, respectively, exactly how the cell processes the input signals to determine the appropriate (or, in the case of some diseases, perhaps, the ‘inappropriate’) output has yet to be fully understood. Yet, each of our own bodies seems to contain on the order of 1013 [1] of these ‘information-processing units’!

This workshop, co-hosted by the multi-disciplinary international conference on Unconventional Computing and Natural Computation, will bring together a wide range of biological and medical cellular experimentalists, computational theorists, computational modellers and other researchers with an interest in viewing biological cells, at least in part, as information processors. Topics may include, but are not limited to, experimental, computational and/or theoretical studies in: gene regulatory networks, extracellular and intracellular signalling networks, transport and channel gating systems and cellular (biological) computing. The intent is to facilitate communication and networking between holders of diverse perspectives in this fascinating area.

[1] Bianconi E. et al. Annals of Human Biology 40(6), 2013.

Invited Speakers

  • Rod Dunbar – The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • James Sneyd – The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Cris Print – The University of Auckland, New Zealand.


We invite abstracts describing novel work on any aspect of biological cell information processing, whether experimental or theoretical, for short talk or poster presentations. The intent of this workshop is to provide opportunities for experimentalists and theorists to exchange ideas and we therefore actively encourage submissions from a broad range of related areas.

The deadline to submit abstracts is Monday, May 4, 2015, EDT.

Guidelines for abstracts:

  • Main body (excluding references) to be no longer than 600 words
  • Include title, authors, affiliations and corresponding author email, scientific content (optionally figures) and finally references
  • Please present sufficient detail for readers to understand the primary methods and results
  • Submission of works-in-progress and preliminary results is encouraged
  • The abstract should be in PDF format
  • It is permissible to submit multiple abstracts
  • Finally, include whether you wish the abstract to be considered for an oral or poster presentation.

Please submit abstracts by e-mail to:

Confirmation of receipt should be sent within a few days. Notification of acceptance should be sent in early July 2015.

Selected abstracts may be invited to contribute full papers to a Special Issue of the International Journal of Unconventional Computing.

Conference participation

The UCNC Biological Cell Information Processing workshop is part of the UCNC conference 2015 (31 August – 4 September) and will be held on the 4th of September, 2015. To attend, please register for the conference at:

We hope to see you in Auckland in 2015. If you have any questions about the workshop, please do not hesitate to contact the organiser.

Program Committee

  • Lila Kari (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
  • Poul Nielsen (the University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Anil Wipat (Newcastle University, United Kingdom)
  • Ulrike Stege (University of Victoria, Canada)
  • David Long (the University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • David Nickerson (the University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Mike Cooling (the University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Jeff Jones (University of the West of England, United Kingdom)
  • Cédric Tedeschi (University of Rennes, France)


Mike Cooling,

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