Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

Home > Public > Public Events and Initiatives > Biology Colloquium

MSRI Biology Colloquium

MSRI recognizes the importance of the interface between mathematics and biology. The MSRI Simons Biology Colloquia series opened in April 2006 and continued through 2008, featuring lectures by leading researchers in the biological sciences, aimed at mathematicians and other scientists from academia and industry. Many of these talks were recorded to share with the general public.

Past Colloquium Lectures

1/22/2018 - Due to changes in MSRI's video hosting, we are currently reindexing the video lectures below. Video links will return in late January 2018.

  • Richard Axel (Columbia University)
  • Cornelia Bargmann (Rockefeller University)
  • Sydney Brenner (Salk Institute)
  • Mimi Koehl (UC Berkeley)
  • Stanislas Leibler (Rockefeller University)
  • Simon Levin (Princeton)
  • Arnold Levine (Institute for Advanced Study)
  • Garrett Odell (University of Washington),
  • Alan Perelson (Los Alamos National Lab)
  • Robert Schleif (Johns Hopkins University)

Sydney Brenner

April 9, 2007 (at MSRI): "Drowning in a Sea of Data and Thirsting for Knowledge" (Video)

April 9, 2007 (at the Berkeley Rep): "Biology: The Art of the Satisfactory" (Video)

April 10, 2007: "Forward and Inverse Problems"

April 12, 2007: "All Those Genomes" (Video)


Mimi Koehl

February 22, 2007: "Sniffing by hairy noses: Odor capture by crustacean antennules in turbulent environments"

February 27, 2007: "Settling down: How do microscopic water-borne larvae of bottom-dwelling marine animals land in the right place?"


Arnold Levine

April 25, 2006: "Interpreting the Sequence Differences in the Human Genomes of Populations" (Video)

February 12, 2007: "The Evolution of Influenza Viruses in the 20th and 21st Centuries" (Video)

February 13, 2007: "DNA/RNA Sequence Complexity: The Entropy Distribution of Viruses and Bacteria"

February 15, 2007: "The Fruits of the Genome Project: What Genetic Polymorphisms can tell us about Predispositions to Disease and Fecundity" (Video)


Garrett Odell

May 5-7, 2008: 3 Talks by Dr. Garrett Odell

"How, in Silico, the Sea Urchin Embryo Gets its Furrow in the Right Place" (Video)

"For Making Genetic Networks Operate Robustly, Unintelligent Non-Design Suffices" (Video)

"Why are mindless, individual agent-based computer simulation models less likely to deceive than elegant and thoughtful partial differential equation models of traditional continuum mechanics?" (Video)

Alan Perelson

October 22, 2007: "How Mathematics Provides Information about HIV/AIDS"

October 23, 2007: "Modeling Immune Responses: Coping with Diversity Using Shape-Space Formulations"

October 25, 2007: "Mathematical Modeling of Viral Infections of Humans: Influenza and Hepatitis"


Robert Schleif

March 21, 2007: "Information Storage and Retrieval Functions of DNA" (Video)

March 23, 2007: "DNA Looping: Its Discovery and Utility in Gene Regulation" (Video)