Summer School in Cargèse (Corsica)

Energy, Information and Evolution in Biology

August 6-16, 2024










The school targets an audience of students and young researchers in physics, chemistry and biology, who are highly motivated by the prospect of a unified cross-disciplinary perspective on living systems focused on energy, information and evolution. We will bring together leading experts to deliver courses highlighting the importance of these concepts in different topics. Particularly important themes will be: cellular stochasticity, information processing in bio-networks, the energetics of living systems, the evolution of bio-molecules and metabolism.


The school will consist of 4.5h and 3h courses (made of 1.5h lectures). We plan for 6 h of lectures every day (9:00-12:30 and 15:30-19:00). Wednesday afternoons will be dedicated to poster sessions. Saturday mornings will be dedicated to questions and exercises proposed by lecturers. All lectures will be recorded and posted online. The following courses will be delivered:

Stochasticity in cellular biology:
– 4.5h by Prof. Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Decision making in cells and cellular populations.
– 4.5h by Prof. Srivida Iyer-Biswas (Santa Fe Institute): The physical principles governing stochastic single-cell behavior.

Information processing in biological networks:
– 4.5h by Prof. Toby Kiers (Vrije Universiteit): Interactions and exchanges between plants, fungi and microbes in mycorrhizal networks.
– 4.5h by Dr. Aleksandra Walczak (École Normale Supérieure): A statistical physics perspective on immunology.
– 4.5h by Dr. Thierry Mora (École Normale Supérieure): Information processing for sensory systems and molecular signaling.

The energetics of living systems:
– 4.5h by Prof. Matthias Heinemann (University of Groningen): Understanding and modeling of cellular metabolism.
– 4.5h by Prof. Juan Manuel Parrondo (Complutense University of Madrid): The energetic cost of information processing from basic principles to biology.
– 3h by Dr. Gianmaria Falasco (University of Padova): Thermodynamically consistent descriptions of active matter.

Evolution from prebiotic chemistry to metabolism:
– 4.5h by Prof. Eric Smith (Santa Fe Institute): The origin of life as a planetary process combining geology, geochemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, evolution and statistical physics.
– 4.5h by Prof. Markus Ralser (Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin): The evolution of metabolism and of its regulations.
– 3h by Prof. Philippe Nghe (ESPCI): Origins of life using microfluidics: evolutionary dynamics in biochemical reaction networks.

The physics and evolution of proteins:
– 3h by Prof. Anne-Florence Bitbol (EPFL): Biological evolution: making sense of protein sequence data.
– 3h by Dr. Nazim Bouatta (Harvard Medical School): Machine learning for protein folding: how it works and what we can learn from it.

We also plan a public lecture by Prof. Étienne Fodor, in French and aimed at a general non-expert audience on the topic of Nonequilibrium Physics of Active Matter. The lecture will take place on Tuesday evening of the second week.

Scientific Committee

Carole Linster, Juan Parrondo, Aleksandra Walczak


Massimiliano Esposito, Étienne Fodor, Alessandro Manacorda