Polymer Modelling and DNA Topology (25w5490)


Christine Soteros (University of Saskatchewan)

Javier Arsuaga (University of California, Davis)

Eleni Panagiotou (Arizona State University)

Koya Shimokawa (Ochanomizu University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the “Polymer Modelling and DNA Topology: The Interplay between Theory, Computation and Experiments” workshop in Banff from November 9 - 14, 2025.

The study of the geometry and topology of biopolymers such as DNA has yielded important scientific advances where deep mathematical methods from knot theory have met high-end experimental data and sophisticated computational modelling techniques. This field of DNA topology has welcomed a diverse and highly interdisciplinary group of scientists over the last 35 plus years, and although much progress has been made, many open questions remain unanswered. New experimental techniques have led to important questions about DNA architecture in confined environments, as well as the role of DNA topology simplification mediated by enzymes. On the mathematical side, newly found knot and link invariants characterize crossing changes and band surgeries of knots and links. These advances in low-dimensional topology can be used to study enzymatic mechanisms. Also, recent studies using novel geometrical topology methods give us new insight on the characterization of knots and links in confined regions and entanglements in linear biomolecules. Advances in computing power and improved sampling methods, have also led to the ability to model more complicated polymer systems.

This workshop will bring together topologists, experimentalists, biologists, biophysicists, physicists and applied mathematicians to work on developing new analytical and computational frameworks to understand the novel experimental data. Many open questions remain and we thus consider it key to include experimental studies of biopolymers, along with the associated mathematical fields and new advances in polymer modeling in the workshop.

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.