• Biology at different scales

    Winter School in Les Houches, France

    2017 March 13-24

  • Lastest news

    The school is currently ongoing. 37 participants and 13 teachers are enjoying lively lectures and spring-like temperatures (so far...). Here is a group picture taken on March 17 after the first morning lecture.

  • Congratulations to Patricia Bassereau, who received the Emmy Noether distinction for Women in Science. We had an informal celebration after her first lecture on March 20.

  • Spirit

    This school focuses on the interplay between physics and biology to understand biological processes at different scales, from the molecular level to living organisms. The school is aimed at PhD students and early-stage researchers trained in various fields and with an interest in biology. Participants are shown how a biological problem can be tackled using an integrated approach. The school also aims at showing how physics and mathematics can contribute to model biological processes.


    The interplay between physics and biology is illustrated on two research fields:

    • Plant morphogenesis from genes to flowers
    • Exocytosis and morphology of the synapse

    For each theme, about 12 lectures, accessible to non-specialists of these topics, cover a range of experimental and theoretical approaches. The typical day encompasses two morning lectures, a big afternoon break to foster informal discussions, and a late afternoon lecture. Themes and lecturers are mixed throughout the schedule of the two weeks.


    The fee for the winter school is 650€, and include registration, housing and meals. A few fellowships to cover part of the fee. Apply by returning the completed form and and a text about your motivations at leshouches2017@ibs.fr before November 30th, 2016.

    You can even spread the word by downloading, printing and sticking the flyer in your lab

  • Plant morphogenesis from genes to flowers

  • Christophe Godin


    Virtual plants: an introduction to modeling flower bud

    Olivier Hamant


    Forces in plant development

    Francois Parcy


    Floral development: bridging atomic and genomic scale

    Dolf Weijers


    Integrated biology of auxin

  • Exocytosis and morphology of the synapse

  • Patricia Bassereau


    Role of proteins in membrane remodeling, theory and experiments

    Reinhard Jan


    Molecular mechanisms of neuronal exocytosis

    Michael Kozlov

    Tel Aviv

    Physical models of membrane shaping

    Dirk-Jan Slotboom


    Membrane transporters: structure, dynamics and function

  • The place

    The site, which has been in operation in the shadow of the Mont-Blanc since 1951, has a long tradition of hosting small , focused workshops and schools in a secluded setting that stimulates intense discussion during formal presentations and promotes fruitful, informal interactions between all participants.


    Participants are accommodated in rooms of small chalets scattered on the site. Meals are taken together in an on-site restaurant that propose local family-style kitchen. And for evenings, the site also encompasses a cosy lounge room with sofas, a piano, table-soccer and a stock of beer.


    Have a look at the website of L'Ecole de Physique des Houches!

    The winter

    At 1200 meters of elevation, you can expect snow on the ground and amazing landscapes. The afternoon break will leave time for informal scientific discussions, around a tea, during a stroll in the surroundings breathing the mountain oxygen. One or two afternoon(s) will remain free to allow exploration with snowshoes or a ski ride at the nearby resort.

  • What they said about the 2014 summer school

    Two years ago, we organized a 4-week long summer school exploring similar topics.

    43 participants

    They came from 14 countries and a majority of them were PhD students. 

    Happy participant #1

    "I find that it is very important to bring together physicists and biologists, because of the difficulty of talking to each other, and the importance of building a common language for the progress of science in our field. The school was a wonderful moment to do this"

    Happy participant #2

    "The pure theoretical courses on membrane biophysics and plant modeling were especially interesting."


    Happy participant #3

    The variety of subject brought me a lot on the long term and it was a really good occasion to discuss with people far away from my field and to discover other ways of doing research

  • This winter school is supported by