Project News

June 8
POBAMA 2022 - Philosophy of Biology at the Mountains Appalachia - Abstracts due July 1

This summer workshop is aimed at philosophers, scientists, and scholars working on or within the life sciences, with the goal of fostering interdisciplinary interaction and encouraging collaboration. Organized by Derek Skillings, PI of the "Directedness in the physiology, ecology, and evolution of holobiont systems" project, the overall goal of the workshop will be to construct a “serendipity generator”, an event structured to provide ample opportunity and room for innovative ideas to naturally emerge.

 

POBAMA will be organized as a 3.5 day retreat with participants staying at a common location and taking their meals together. Each working day will consist of 3-4 hours of talks given by participants, broken up by roundtable discussion events and breakout sessions held at a relaxed pace. Mornings and evenings will be left open in order to let the participants engage with each other in smaller groups during leisure activities.

 

More information about registration, submitting an abstract, cost and location is available in the attached PDF.

ASSOCIATED PROJECTS
June 6
Warmth and reciprocity with mothers, and young children’s resilience to exposure to community violence in Colombia: findings from the La Sabana Parent–Child Study

Jonathan Hill, part of the “Mistakes in living systems: a new conceptual framework” project, recently contributed to the “Warmth and reciprocity with mothers, and young children’s resilience to exposure to community violence in Colombia: findings from the La Sabana Parent–Child Study” article published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. One of the authors’ conclusions is that “The centrality of parents for these children highlights the plight of those exposed to community violence, and also either separated from parents or orphaned.”

ASSOCIATED PROJECTS
June 3
Seminar: How should we think scientifically about biological objects?

The History, Philosophy and Biology Teaching Lab (LEFHBio), associated with the Institute of Biology/ Federal University of Bahia and the National Institute of Science and Technology in Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies in Ecology and Evolution (INCT IN-TREE), Brazil, continues its seminar cycle on 9 June 2022 with a talk by Dr. Maël Montévil, from Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs USR 3608, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France, entitled “How should we think scientifically about biological objects?”.

Scholars used Aristotelian reasoning in combination with theology to understand living beings, leading to natural theology, where god was the guarantee of biological norms. Transformism, notably Darwin, provided an alternative to this view; however, this alternative had to be acknowledged by scientists when the model of science was classical mechanics. It followed that thinking about biological objects remained similar to physics thinking, where norms are laws, or at least invariants and symmetries. The recurring analogies with technological objects, recently computers, as viewed by engineers (and not users or anthropology) also contributed to this theoretical and epistemological bias and confusion. On the opposite, we can think about biological objects differently, on renewed theoretical bases, by starting from theoretical principles that are sound in this field. Then, instead of fast analogies, numerous new questions, methods, and reasoning have to be fleshed out.

Maël Montévil is a researcher (chargé de recherche) in CNRS, working in Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs USR 3608, École Normale Supérieure. He is a theoretical biologist working at the crossroads of experimental biology, mathematics, and philosophy. He works both on the ways to understand living being and to take care of them in the Anthropocene. Most of his writing can be found here https://montevil.org/

ASSOCIATED PROJECTS
May 31
Incorporating network theory into applied ecology of conifer species and forest management

Mariana Benítez Keinrad, part of Stuart Newman’s “Cellular agency in multicellular development and cancer” project, contributed to the article “Unipartite and bipartite mycorrhizal networks of Abies religiosa forests: Incorporating network theory into applied ecology of conifer species and forest management” in the June 2022 issue of Ecological Complexity.

ASSOCIATED PROJECTS
May 19
Background selection theory overestimates effective population size for high mutation rates

Joanna Masel, PI of the “Universal principles of evolutionary adaptation” project, with co-author Joseph Matheson, recently published their preprint, “Background selection theory overestimates effective population size for high mutation rates,” online in bioRxiv. The authors “simulate genomes evolving under background selection, allowing the emergence of linkage disequilibria. With realistically high deleterious mutation rates, neutral diversity is much lower than predicted from previous analytical theory.”

ASSOCIATED PROJECTS