6th Dresden Summer School in Systems Biology

International Students Explore Computational Approaches to Biological Systems

From 10-17 August, the CSBD hosted the sixth Dresden Summer School in Systems Biology. 15 hand-selected participants from 10 countries spent an immersive week gaining research experience at the intersection of biology and computer science. The group of learners was composed of Bachelor-, Master- and PhD students with diverse backgrounds such as Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Bioinformatics, or Bioengineering. We were particularly happy about the equal 1:1 gender balance.

The summer school aims to provide a comprehensive hands-on introduction to computational and algorithmic approaches to biological systems. This year completely revamped the curriculum, replacing much of the didactic lecture time with practical research project experience. Participants gained insight into 5 computational areas: machine learning and computer vision; numerical simulation and high-performance computing; stochastics and statistical inference; network theory and self-organization; and molecular modeling and evolutionary dynamics.

Divided into groups, the students carried out 4 cross-disciplinary projects on different scales of biological organization, from molecular to cellular and supra-cellular. Evening talks by MPI-CBG and CSBD research group leaders featured the range of research topics with ties to computer-based applications. Following each talk, the participating students asked questions in an informal setting over dinner.

Ivo Sbalzarini, one of the organizers, and senior research group leader at the CSBD and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) was impressed by this year’s edition of the school. He says, “We had fabulous students here and a very lively, buzzing and creative atmosphere. The teams got very far in the projects and the feedback was unanimously positive.”

A big thank you to everyone who supported this important event! Special thanks goes to the faculty Florian Jug, Carl Modes, Agnes Toth-Petroczy, and Christoph Zechner, research group leaders at the CSBD and the MPI-CBG, and all the tutors Stephan Baumgärtner, Szabolcs Horvát, Alex Krull, Cedric Landerer, Ulrik Günther, and Surya Maddu.

We are already looking forward to next year’s edition of the Summer School! The application for the next round will reopen in early 2020. Further information on the Dresden Summer School in Systems Biology is hosted at


Applications are welcome anytime.