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Qlife Quantitative Biology Winter School : Active Matter in Biology

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Master in Life Science, ENS
Qlife Quantitative Biology Winter School | Active Matter in Biology
Year : 2 (M2)
Semester : 2 (S2)
Duration : 1 week (February 14-18, 2022)


Patrick Charnay, ENS Biologie

Chairman of the scientific committee

Pascal Hersen, Institut Curie


50 h




Digital practical, Active Matter, Physics of living systems, Active tissue, Cytoskeleton, Collective motion, Compartmentalization and pattern, Liquid-liquid phase transition, Metabolism, Out of equilibrium systems

Prerequisites for the course

Basic experience in file manipulation under Unix/Linux and some coding ability in Python or R. Attendance is competitive (24 participants) and open to M2 students, PhD students and postdocs with backgrounds in life science, physics, computer science and mathematics. Some knowledge or experience in the field is therefore recommended.
Depending on the sanitary situation, the course will be conducted in-person or online.
A decision on this matter will be made in January 2022. In case of an in-person course, a Covid-19 sanitary pass will be required.

Course objectives and description

The course will explore Active Matter in biological systems across scales, from self-organization and assembly at the protein level to cellular motility and collective motions at larger scales. It will show how the principles of active matter are critical to describe the functioning of cellular processes and the emergence of complex behaviors in living systems. Specifically, the courses will cover the following key topics : out-of-equilibrium and active systems in biology (such as self-organization of the cytoskeleton and cellular motility), collective behaviors at different scales (from active cellular nematics and tissue dynamics to swarm of animals), phase transition and membrane-less organelles in cells.
The course will bring together thought leaders in dialogue with the next generation of early career scientists to advance the integrative study of active matter in biology. It will include hands-on digital workshops every afternoon. The students will choose between blocks of workshops ("Physical simulations of cytoskeletal dynamics with Cytosim" or "Mechanics and growth of tissues" ; "Physics of Microswimmers" or "Chemically controlled phase-separation").

Assessment of M2 students

At the end of the course, a restitution session will allow to evaluate the students in need for a mark.

Course material

The course will include introductory lectures, a series of hands-on digital workshops run by experts, and inspirational seminars from prestigious scientists.

Application deadline

Novel deadline
The deadline was postponed to December 12, 2021.
At the end of the course, a restitution session will allow to evaluate the students in need for a mark.

Registration fees

150 € (fees cover food and lodging from Monday morning to Friday afternoon. Some travel grants will be available).

Registration procedure

Register through the following link :
In addition, provide a CV, a 1 page motivation letter (including justification for travel grant if requested) and a supporting letter from a supervisor with “Qlife ActMatter winter school 2022-LASTNAME” as subject header to chez

Download the poster of Active Matter WS
Download the Planning of Active Matter WS