The CBC Exploratory Workshop on Cellular Heterogeneity

DATE: January 30, 2013
LOCATION: University of Chicago Gleacher Center

Workshop Recap

February 5, 2013

The third CBC Exploratory Workshop, titled “Cellular Heterogeneity” took place on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center downtown Chicago. The workshop gathered 13 scientists from the three CBC institutions. Marsha Rosner, PhD, Charles B. Huggins Professor and Chair at The Ben May Department for Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, and Neil Kelleher, PhD, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Chemistry and the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, co-organized this full-day event.

The goal of the workshop was to brainstorm and probe whether the topic of cellular heterogeneity could create enough inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional momentum to form a working group that could move the discussions towards putting together a novel research grant proposal eligible for multi-institutional funding.

Marsha Rosner began the workshop by introducing the concept of cellular heterogeneity in the context of multi-level systems such as cells, tissues, organisms and evolving populations. Heterogeneity was further discussed as a feature of both healthy and diseased systems using cancer as one of the examples. Discussions centered on defining the characteristics of heterogeneity and the role it plays in development of disease and in evolution.  Neil Kelleher led the follow-up session concentrating on the technical aspects of studying heterogeneity. Strong emphasis was placed on the importance of being able to study heterogeneity as a function of time.

Enthusiastic discussions continued throughout the day. Several workshop attendees gave short slide presentations during the working lunch focusing on heterogeneity in biological systems of their expertise and on the Chicago-based techniques available to study the phenomenon. The meeting concluded with recommendations to write a “White Paper” that would summarize the goals and prospects of the “Cellular Heterogeneity Working Group”. 

PHOTOS: Organizers and Attendees of the 2013 CBC Exploratory Workshop on Cellular Heterogeneity held at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. (Photos: CBC)