• Instruct - Biology at different scales

    2019 May 27 - June 7. Spring school in Les Houches, France


    Previous events

    July 2014, four-week summer school

    March 2017, two-week winter school


  • 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, morphology and transport at 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 690€, and include registration, housing and meals. A few fellowships to cover part of the fee. Apply by completing the form; if you encounter any problem please contact eva.pebay-peyroula@ibs.fr before January 31st, 2019.

    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

    Karin Schumacher


    Role of plant V-ATPase in transport and traffic

    Edwige Moyroud


    Flowers, patterns and insect: a love story

  • Exocytosis, morphology and transport at 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 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 season

    At 1200 meters of elevation, you can expect sunny days, fresh evenings and amazing landscapes at any time. The afternoon break will leave time for informal scientific discussions, around a tea, during a stroll in the surroundings. One or two afternoon(s) will remain free to allow exploration of the Chamonix valley.

  • What participants said about previous events

    In 2014 and 2017, we organized schools exploring similar topics.

    >80 participants

    They came from 14 countries and a majority of them were PhD students. Here are examples of positive feedback we heard from them.

    Physicists and biologists

    "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"

    Variety of subjects

    The variety of subjects 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

    Informal lectures

    What i liked most was the informal nature of the lectures that allowed for a lot of back and forth between students and teachers.

    Eclectic mix

    Loved the people that I met (organizers, lecturers, participants). A very eclectic mix of people that I shall miss dining with.

    French food

    Another thing, I always liked French cuisine [...] I enjoyed it greatly. Now I am stuck again with my Institute canteen.

    With a view

    By the way, the background video is taken during a lecture break, from the seminar room entrance