Daniel Riveline

Joanne

Building a synthetic cell is a central goal in the research community at the International level, from Physics and Biology to Chemistry and Maths. I support this initiative for the following reasons :

  • Central discoveries performed in Europe or by scientists with a European education : these topics have been flourishing in the last decades, in particular with pioneering works in Europe, in France, in the UK, in Germany in particular. Scientists re-visited basic principles of auto-organisations in chemistry/physics, and they were asking differently questions beyond molecular reactions through their visions in terms of networks, mesoscopic scales, new theory for living matter, out-of-equilibrium physics. New ideas for spatial organisations of active matter or for signal processing in signaling networks have paved the way towards new Sciences in Biology and in Physics. The future of this field which had its founding works in Europe shoud be re-invested within Europe.
  • Novel education programs : these subjects require intense training in interdisciplinary fields as well as a general culture in Science, and several countries in Europe have launched such initiatives (for example at Strasbourg University). New students will enter soon laboratories throughout Europe, and their creativity and ideas – which result from long term training and investment from European States – should be supported by Europe to trigger and probe new ways of viewing and understanding the living matter.
  • New sources for jobs and patents applications : this new way of addressing questions in the Life Sciences has started to generate new activities with unprecedented scopes. Microfabrication/Microfluidics or the design of Systems Biology approaches open the perspective of new ideas in organ-on-a-chip, and original strategies in drug designs and diagnosis. Europe could be the central player of these new fields with the associate consequences for generating new jobs and income.

This new initiative could revolutionarize our ways of understanding cells, organisms, and living matter, and I think that Europe should have a leading role in this endeavor.