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Tuesday 24th October 2023

Isaac Newton Institute

United Kingdom

This Open for Business event was part of an INI programme on New statistical physics in living matter: non equilibrium states under adaptive control. It aimed to build links between researchers in mathematics, statistical physics, and biological physics and those working in allied industries.


Plants and microbes are surrounded by polymer-based walls that play a central role in how these single and multi-celled organisms grow and reproduce. The chemical composition and structure of these walls can be extremely complex and variable over time and space, yet at the same time they retain higher level order which is thought to underpin their function. Some of these microbes are pathogenic, with wall structure and function often being intimately linked to their ability to infect their hosts. Understanding the role of the cell wall and the mechanics of growth is thus important as a fundamental aspect of life on the planet, but also has clear potential applications in engineering novel approaches to disease control, and a myriad of opportunities in the sphere of biotechnology.

A truly mechanistic understanding of the cell wall requires mathematical and computational modelling approaches. Progress has been made in this area in numerous experimental systems using a range of modelling approaches. The goal of this event is to bring researchers with a diversity of experimental and mathematical background, and from a diversity of career stage, together with those from industry and the public sector. They will review recent progress, facilitating cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches. The event will bring people together in the context of exploring how this fundamental knowledge can lead to novel applications in the control of growth and disease.

Aims & Objectives

This event will brought mathematicians, statistical and biological physicists, plant and microbial biologists, and industry practitioners together to explore recent research aimed at understanding the mechanistic role of the plant and microbial wall in growth and disease.

It featured a series of talks and discussions in four sessions covering Mechanics, Growth, Function and applications in industry.

The event ran from 9.30-17.00 and closed with a networking reception. All timings are GMT.

Poster Session

Attendees were encouraged to present a poster during a dedicated poster session and during breaks and lunches throughout the event. 

Registration and Venue

Registrations to this event are now closed, for any questions, please contact 

The workshop took place at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Please visit the Isaac Newton Institute website for further information about the venue.

To maximise networking opportunities and interaction with speakers and other participants, we strongly encouraged in-person attendance to this workshop. However, this event was also hosted as hybrid via Zoom.


  • Andrew Fleming - University of Sheffield
  • Ray Goldstein - University of Cambridge
  • Jamie Hobbs - University of Sheffield
  • Teuta Pilizota - University of Edinburgh
  • Christoph Schmidt - Duke University