Dr. Sharma invited to National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conference

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Blanka Sharma, who has been selected to participate in the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) conference on Collective Behavior: From Cells to Societies, through a very competitive application process.


NAKFI is a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with support from the W.M. Keck Foundation, whose objectives include enhancing the climate for conducting interdisciplinary research, and breaking down related institutional and systemic barriers. It works toward these objectives by harnessing the intellectual horsepower of approximately 150 of the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds who apply to attend the annual “think-tank” style conference to contemplate the real world challenges of our day.


The NAKFI conference on collective behaviors is intended to initiate a new synthesis of the regulation, dynamics and evolution of social behavior from microbes to metazoans.  The conference will help forge a dynamic research community out of scientists, engineers and doctors using disparate approaches to a common problem: how and why do molecules, cells and organisms communicate with each other and modify their activities based on these communications?  This NAKFI conference will bring together physician-scientists defining the molecular mechanisms and consequences of signaling in cell-cell communication; evolutionary biologists and ecologists studying dynamic spatial and temporal interactions of complex communities from biofilms to animal groups; quantitative and theoretical experts predicting and modeling social networks; and engineers and applied systems specialists harnessing community organization for the development of useful medical products and bioremediation strategies.


The conference will take place in November 13-15, 2014 in Irvine, CA