The Mathematics of Microbial Evolution: Beyond the Limits of Classical Theory (23w5079)


Lindi Wahl (University of Western Ontario)

(University of Edinburgh)

Sylvain Gandon (CNRS)

(University of British Columbia)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "The Mathematics of Microbial Evolution: Beyond the Limits of Classical Theory" workshop in Banff from January 8 to January 13, 2023.

Bacteria, viruses and other microbial populations evolve rapidly, developing resistance to antibiotics, infecting new host species, or emerging as highly pathogenic strains. The importance of microbial evolution has been thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing Covid-19, and the ongoing emergence of variants of concern. Mathematical models play a central role in our understanding of evolution, but have largely been developed to describe evolution in humans and animal species. Since microbial evolution differs, often quite profoundly, from evolution in higher organisms, new mathematical approaches must be developed.

The goal of this workshop is to bring microbiologists, evolutionary biologists and applied mathematicians together to discuss recent experimental discoveries in microbial genetics and evolution. Our aim is to develop new mathematical approaches and predictive models that account for the complexity and diversity of microbial evolution. Overall, a deeper understanding of the ever-changing microbial populations within and around us will be critical in responding to novel pathogens and changing environments.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).