School on Biological Physics across Scales: Pattern Formation

November 11 – 22, 2024

São Paulo, Brazil



Systems as different as the cellular cytoskeleton, microbial communities in soil, and savanna landscapes have in common the emergence of patterns: random yet organized spatial structures that form in an otherwise translationally invariant space. These structures emerge due to the local, individual-level interactions of agents – proteins, cells, trees – that, on a larger scale, result in nonlinear dynamics for the density field. Crucial phenomena hinge on the formation of these patterns: mitosis, embryo development, bacterial population survival, ecosystem’s robustness to aridification.

While broadly different in scale, these systems can be theoretically described by similar statistical physics frameworks, an approach pioneered by Alan Turing in 1952 and still the focus of very active development. The goal of this school is to bring together experts on these different systems using mathematical modeling, experimental approaches and modern data-driven techniques to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue about pattern formation in living systems.

There is no registration fee and limited funds are available for travel and local expenses.



  • Ricardo Martinez-Garcia (CASUS / HZDR, Germany & ICTP-SAIFR/IFT-UNESP, Brazil)
  • Pierre Ronceray (CINaM, Turing Centre for Living Systems, CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université, France)



Click HERE for online application

Application deadline: September 8, 2024



  • Nigel Goldenfeld (University of California San Diego, USA): Stochastic pattern formation in space and time: from the brain to the biosphere
  • Johan van de Koppel (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Netherlands): The Physics of spatial ecology
  • Erwin Frey (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany): Self-organisation and pattern formation in living and synthetic cells
  • Veronica Grieneisen (Cardiff University, UK): TBA




Click HERE for online application

Application deadline: September 8, 2024


Additional Information

Attention! Some participants in ICTP-SAIFR activities have received email from fake travel agencies asking for credit card information. All communication with participants will be made by ICTP-SAIFR staff using an e-mail “”. We will not send any mailings about accommodation that require a credit card number or any sort of deposit.

BOARDING PASS: All participants, whose travel has been provided or will be reimbursed by ICTP-SAIFR, should bring the boarding pass  upon registration. The return boarding pass (PDF, if online check-in, scan or picture, if physical) should be sent to by e-mail.

COVID-19: Brazilians and foreigners no longer have to present proof of vaccination before entering the country.

Visa information: Nationals from several countries in Latin America and Europe are exempt from tourist visa. Nationals from Australia, Canada and USA are exempt from tourist visa until April 10, 2025. Please check here which nationals need a tourist visa to enter Brazil.

Accommodation: Participants, whose accommodation will be provided by the institute, will stay at The Universe Flat. Hotel recommendations are available here.

How to reach the Institute: The first week of the school will be held at ICTP South American Institute, located at IFT-UNESP, which is across the street from a major bus and subway terminal (Terminal Barra Funda). The address which is closer to the entrance of the IFT-UNESP building is R. Jornalista Aloysio Biondi, 120 – Barra Funda, São Paulo. The easiest way to reach us is by subway or bus, please find instructions here.

Poster presentation: Participants who are presenting a poster MUST BRING A PRINTED BANNER . The banner size should be at most 1 m (width) x 1,5 m (length). We do not accept A4 or A3 paper. Click here to see what a banner looks like: