Novel Mathematical Paradigm for Phylogenomics (25w5333)


Nadia El-Mabrouk (University of Montreal)

Katharina Huber (University of East Anglia)

Manuel Lafond (Université de Sherbrooke)

Guillaume Scholz (Universität Leipzig)


The Banff International Research Station will host the “Novel Mathematical Paradigm for Phylogenomics” workshop in Banff from August 24 to 29, 2025.

Whether it is to fight against cancerous tumors, develop antiviral drugs and vaccines against the spread of novel viruses such as SARS CoV-2, exploit the molecular scissors CRISPR-Cas$\:9$ for biotechnological advances, help gauge the effect of climate change on the diversity of life on Earth, or trace back the root of the Tree of Life, it is critical to acquire a deep understanding of the evolution of the biological entities concerned. However, the complexity of these tasks requires a powerful mathematical framework to cast the underpinning theoretical questions. Phylogenomics aims to combine approaches and techniques from diverse areas within discrete mathematics and computer science so that they can be brought to bear on evolutionary molecular sequence data to generate, as accurate as possible, evolutionary scenarios. It has proven time and again to provide such a framework. Despite this, the exploitation of the power of Phylogenomics is still in its infancy. This holds in particular with regards to shedding light into highly topical scientific problems such as the ones mentioned above. At the same time, advances in computing technology and improved biological understanding have inspired exciting, deep mathematical and computer science problems of interest in their own right.

We see this event as an opportunity to maintain and establish new links between different fields and expertises in Phylogenomics, ranging from pure mathematics, cancer genomics, microbiome evolution, population genetics, RNA evolution, machine learning, and others. We envisage this to help with assessing what these fields can bring to each other, a prelude to the development of hybrid methods aimed at tackling current and future problems raised by the study of genomics and evolution.

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), and Alberta’s Advanced Education and Technology.