In bioinformatics, biology, statistics and computer science meet. Bioinformatics deals with the handling and interpretation of data which arise in biology, especially in modern molecular and post-genomic biology. Examples include problems connected with DNA sequences, protein structure or microarray experiments. Statistical bioinformatics deals particularly with questions of modelling and inference in the extraction of useful information from such data.
Stochastic systems biology is concerned with modelling processes which take place at the molecular level within cells. In more traditional chemical kinetic modelling, the numbers of molecules involved are usually considered to be so large that the randomness of individual interactions of molecules can be ignored and a deterministic model is satisfactory. However, in the case of, for example, protein expression and genetic regulatory networks within cells, this simplification is no longer appropriate and models involving random, i.e. stochastic, processes are needed to give an adequate description of the behaviour. Given the limitations in the degree to which these processes can be observed experimentally, this leads to difficult problems of inference when we attempt to learn about the values of model parameters or compare alternative models.
This meeting will bring together leading researchers working on the development of new methods in statistical bioinformatics and stochastic systems biology. It will be of interest to statisticians and computer scientists working in this field and also to biologists and others who are interested in the latest developments in inferential and modelling methods for biological data. The emphasis will be on developments in statistical methodology but this is, by its very nature, an interdisciplinary area which depends on collaboration between those with statistical or computational expertise and those with biological expertise. Scientists who would not regard themselves as primarily statisticians but who have an interest in the development of appropriate statistical methodology will be welcome at the meeting.