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Understanding how a complex living organism, composed of tissues with various shapes and functions, emerges from the coordinated growth, proliferation, organization and differentiation of its constituent cells is one of the major frontiers in science, and the aim of Developmental Biology.

 

To this aim, this field has broadened its scope and palette of technologies and concepts. Traditional approaches such as genetics or embryology are increasingly integrated with physics, mathematics, computer science or engineering. Old questions are revisited with cellular resolution, new questions arise, giving a new impetus to developmental biology and making our field one of the most exciting area of curiosity-driven research.

 

Unraveling the principles governing the generation of shape and function is also necessary to address major societal challenges, reaching much beyond the often-cited search for cures to human developmental diseases. Progress in our ability to repair adult bodies through stem cell biology raises hopes of increased well-being of the ever-growing elderly population. Understanding plant development is key to feeding a human population estimated to reach 10 billions by the end of the century.  Finally, diversification of developmental studies to organisms occupying a broader variety of ecological niches is essential to assess the impact of the rapid environmental changes on the biodiversity that stabilizes our planet’s ecosystems.

 

We hope that the program of this second edition of ShapingLife, co-organized by the French Society of Developmental Biology (SFBD) and the Institute of Developmental Biology of Marseille (IBDM), will help foster discussions around these ambitious goals. We warmly thank the world-renown leaders who positively responded to our invitation to speak at the meeting. We are also eager to listen to the talks from selected junior scientists, tomorrow’s leaders. Last but not least vibrant poster sessions are often where future collaborations emerge.

 

We will be very happy to welcome you in Cassis, one of the most picturesque harbours in the south of France, and hope you will enjoy a pleasant, rich and stimulating meeting.

 

Patrick Lemaire
President of the SFBD

& The Organizing Committee.