Schedule (Last Updated 13 March 2023)

The detailed program (Keynotes, Spotlight Talks, Technical Sessions) can be found below.

Keynote Speakers

Molecular Communication Theory: Foundations and Future Perspectives
Date & Time – t.b.d.

Prof. Massimiliano Pierobon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), NE, USA

Abstract: Molecular communication theory is a discipline in communication systems engineering that studies how information can be encoded and propagated through chemical molecules. The implicit biocompatibility and nanoscale feasibility of molecular communication make it a promising paradigm for engineering the interconnections between embedded computing systems able to not only directly interact with biological processes, but also utilize these same processes as their building blocks, i.e., the Internet of Bio-Nano Things. The first part of this talk will focus on a broad introduction of molecular communication as a research field, together with its initial motivations and landmarks research results at its intersection with biochemistry, with highlights from systems and synthetic biology, neuroscience, and bioinformatics. The second part of the talk will focus on the latest results and open challenges in the characterization of information flow through biological cells, and the engineering of novel communication components able to harness, control, and enhance this flow for future applications ranging from implantable and wearable device networking to the design of communication components in engineered cells.

Bio: Massimiliano Pierobon is an Associate Professor at the School of Computing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), NE, USA, where he also holds a courtesy appointment at the Department of Biochemistry. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA, in 2013. He is the co-Editor in Chief of Nano Communication Networks (Elsevier), and an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing. Selected honors: 2011 Georgia Tech BWN Lab Researcher of the Year Award, 2013 IEEE Communications Letters Exemplary Reviewer Award, UNL CSE Upper Ugrad and Graduate Level Teaching Award in 2016 and 2017, 2017 IEEE INFOCOM Best Paper Runner-up Award and ACM NanoCom Best Paper Award, and 2019-2020 UNL College of Engineering Excellence in Research Awards. Dr. Pierobon is the PI of multiple NSF and DoD projects and the co-organizer/chair of the NSF Workshop on Biology through Information, Communication & Coding Theory. His research interests are in molecular communication theory, nanonetworks, intra-body networks, information and communication theory applied to synthetic biology, and the Internet of Bio-Nano Things.

Can materials be smart? The fascination of magnetic hybrid materials
Date & Time – t.b.d.

Prof. Stefan Odenbach, TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Abstract: The term “Smart Materials” has been used for many years both in scientific literature and in the press in general. This raises the question of what is meant by “smart materials”? If one looks at the literature here, it is generally assumed that these are materials whose properties can be altered by external stimuli. The number of possible stimuli is unbelievably large. If one looks at materials whose influence can be technically used, magnetic hybrid materials represent a prototype of the “smart materials” class. These materials, which consist of magnetic nano- or microparticles in a non-magnetic matrix, can be controlled by the effect of magnetic fields. If a simple Newtonian liquid is chosen as the matrix material, ferrofluids or magnetorheological fluids are obtained depending on whether magnetic nanoparticles or microparticles are used. The change in particle size alone leads to significant changes in material behaviour in the magnetic field. While ferrofluids not only allow a change of their properties in the field but also an active magnetic flow control, magnetorheological fluids can be used to set a magnetically induced yield stress, e.g. for technically relevant force transmissions. But the use of magnetic hybrid materials goes far beyond the technical field. With a suitable composition, ferrofluids can be used in the field of biomedicine. In particular, cancer therapy has been the focus of interest for a long time. Here, the magnetic particles can be used, for example, as magnetically controlled transport vehicles for chemotherapeutic agents. A process known as magnetic drug targeting. And at this point we come full circle back to engineering – the flow processes under magnetic field influence that come into play here are a typical problem in fluid mechanics. The talk will include a general introduction to magnetic hybrid materials and a look at the fluid mechanics investigation of the processes involved in magnetic drug targeting.

Bio: Stefan Odenbach is professor of Magnetofluiddynamics, measuring and automation technology at the TU Dresden. He received his PhD in physics with a topic on magnetic fluids from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. After a PostDoc phase at BUGH Wuppertal, he became head of the Complex Fluids Department at ZARM at the University of Bremen. He was speaker of a collaborative research center on Magnetofluiddynamics and speaker of two DFG priority programs on magnetic hybrid materials. His research focuses on complex fluids, especially magnetic hybrid materials, and experimental fluid mechanics and metrology.

Tutorial Speakers

Theory-based Design and Control of Biomolecular Circuits and Communication Systems
Date & Time – t.b.d.

Prof. Yutaka Hori, Keio University, Japan

Abstract: Recent advancements in synthetic biology have enabled the bottom-up design of biomolecular reaction networks. This has opened up an opportunity to build chemically-driven circuits and systems that perform sensing, actuation, and information processing based on programmed biomolecular reactions and will eventually lead to the engineering of chemically-driven cell-like molecular robots that cooperatively work together to achieve complex tasks. In this talk, I will first review the basic concepts of biomolecular circuits and communication systems and introduce various modeling frameworks for the analysis and design of the spatio-temporal dynamics of such systems. Examples of experimentally engineered circuit components are then demonstrated. In particular, I will discuss how one can combine tools in feedback control theory and mathematical optimization with experimental testbeds such as microfluidic devices to help accelerate the engineering process of synthetic biomolecular systems.

Bio: Yutaka Hori received the B.S degree in engineering, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in information science and technology from the University of Tokyo in 2008, 2010 and 2013, respectively. He held a postdoctoral appointment at California Institute of Technology from 2013 to 2016. In 2016, he joined Keio University, where he is currently an associate professor. His research interests lie in feedback control theory and its applications to synthetic biomolecular systems. He is a recipient of Takeda Best Paper Award from SICE in 2015, and Best Paper Award at Asian Control Conference in 2011, and is a Finalist of Best Student Paper Award at IEEE Multi-Conference on Systems and Control in 2010. He has been serving as an associate editor of the Conference Editorial Board of IEEE Control Systems Society. He is a member of IEEE, SICE, and ISCIE.

Spotlight-Talk Speakers

Additive Manufacturing – Potentials and Challenges for Molecular Communication Applications
Date & Time – April 12

Prof. Dietmar Drummer, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Abstract: Additive Manufacturing Technologies are often referred to as disruptive technologies of this century. Through layerwise production and freeforming, geometrically highly complex parts or even functionalized assemblies can directly be printed from digital data without the need for elaborate tooling. Therefore, rapid production of individualized and highly structured components in small quantities is possible, more economical and material-saving than ever before. In addition, the broad spectrum of polymer additive manufacturing technologies facilitates the production of components with a wide range of property profiles – from soft and elastic to highly rigid and durable component properties. 
Recently, the use of additive manufacturing technologies for molecular communication applications was emphasized. The simplicity of physical modeling allows complex systems to be built quickly. One example is the fabrication of physical tumor models for drug targeting applications. Complex 3D geometries can be derived from angiography scans of tumor tissue allowing for the systematic research of drug targeting and the generation of physical multi-use tumor models. Within this contribution, a general overview of polymer additive manufacturing technology with respect to available material range, detail resolution and characteristic property profiles will be provided. The emerging potentials for the production of tumor models as designated application in molecular communication are emphasized.

Molecular Communication in synthetic biology: View on the permeability of artificial organelles and protocells
Date & Time – April 12

Dr. Dietmar Appelhans, Leibnitz Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., Germany

Abstract: The ultimate objective of developing biomimetic cell structures is to simulate the structural and functional features of cells and their compartments. This paves the way for promising and extremely sophisticated applications in artificial organelles and cells as biomimetic therapeutics (e.g. in enzyme replacement therapy or capture and degradation of bacteria). To showcase the function of artificial organelles and protocells there is the concern of time-dependent, spatiotemporal, spatially separated, dynamic, out-of-equilibrium and long-term multi-enzymatic processes for future applications. The permeability of synthetic compartments and densified membrane-less compartments such as coacervates plays one deciding role in the molecular communications between intracellular organelles, cell-cell and cell-organelle to exhibit requested functions for imitating simplified cell functions.Within this contribution, examples of biomimetic structures and functions with various permeable characteristics (e.g. steady vs. switchable, size-dependent diffusion from outside to inside (= lumen or cavity) or only penetrating membrane) are presented and compared for molecular communication. In this context the emerging potential of pH-, redox-, light- and salt-responsive polymeric vesicles in synthetic biology is emphasized to adapt different environments for selective diffusion and enzymatic processes. Such diverse adaptations of polymeric vesicles may open new applications in the field of microfluidics, circular systems and membrane technology beside existing.

From Biofilms and Hen’s Eggs: Controlled Drug Delivery Systems for Infections and Inflammation
Date & Time – April 12


Prof. Dagmar Fischer, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Abstract: Bacterial biofilms represent a major challenge for the controlled and efficient delivery of drugs. Bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) are a major cause of chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The ability of the bacteria to form biofilms and the presence of an abnormal thick and stagnant mucus in the airways of CF patients lead to antibiotic failure and request innovative delivery systems to improve the effectiveness and reactivate the antibiotics. Tobramycin, inefficient in many patients, was encapsulated in biocompatible and biodegradable polyester nanoparticles. Penetration of mucus and bacterial biofilm, interaction with the bacteria and consequently, the effectiveness against biofilms were strongly enhanced under static and fluidic experimental conditions demonstrating the dependency on polymer type, particle size and surface charge as well as the presence of stealth polymers. Nebulization of the nanoparticles offered a highly suitable approach for efficient delivery into deeper lungs. Additionally, the applicability of green concepts and sustainability for a safe and healthy environment with respect to nanoparticle formulations will be discussed as well as their impact on biological applications. 

Molecular communication in synthetic biological systems
Date & Time – April 12

Prof. Friedrich Simmel, TU München, Germany

Abstract: Molecular communication is important for the coordination of behaviors among cells within multicellular systems. Communication serves multiple functions such as signal transduction, sensing, collective behavior, and enables specialization and division of labor. This talk will first provide a brief overview of different communication modalities that have been explored in synthetic biology, including communication between bacteria with small molecule signals or phages, communication between mammalian cells via engineered receptors, and how such communication modules were used to build and enhance synthetic gene circuits and employ spatiotemporal behaviors such as pattern formation. The talk will also cover the realization of communication in cell-free synthetic biology, including communication among “synthetic cells” or between synthetic and biological cells. Several examples will be highlighted from our own lab, including communication among engineered bacteria, in systems of synthetic cell-scale compartments, within 3D printed gels, and also molecular communication involving DNA-based nanostructures.

Technical Sessions

Wednesday 12 April, 2023

Session 1: MC Theory I (10:30am – 11:45am)

Distance Estimation from a Diffusive ProcessFabio Broghammer (German Aerospace Center (DLR))*; Siwei Zhang (DLR); Thomas Wiedemann (DLR); Peter A. Hoeher (University of Kiel)
Deterministic Identification For MC Poisson ChannelMohammad Javad Salariseddigh (TU Munich)*; Vahid Jamali (TU Darmstadt); Uzi Pereg (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology); Holger Boche (TU Munich); Christian Deppe (TU Munich); Robert Schober (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Towards an End-to-End Learning for Salinity-based Molecular CommunicationRoya Khanzadeh; Stefan Angerbauer; Franz Enzenhofer; Andreas Springer; Werner Haselmayr (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
Stability analysis for circulant structured multi-agent molecular communication systemsTaishi Kotsuka (Keio University)*; Yutaka Hori (Keio University)

Session 2: MC Testbeds and Experimental Work (1:15pm – 2:30pm)

Explainability of Neural Networks for Symbol Detection in Molecular Communication ChannelsJorge Torres Gomez (TU Berlin)*; Pit Hofmann (TU Dresden); Frank H. P. Fitzek (TU Dresden); Falko Dressler (TU Berlin)
Experimental Work on Media Modulation in Molecular CommunicationsMaike Scherer; Lukas Brand; Maximilian Schäfer; Sebastian Lotter; Kathrin Castiglione; Robert Schober (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Channel Attenuation in Droplet-based Microfluidic Networks: First Experimental StudiesMedina Hamidovic; Mahdi Saeedipour; Stefan Augenbauer; Werner Haselmayr (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
Novel Silicon Photonics Double Ring Resonator for Malignancy DetectionShelma Cheeran (Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology); Anamika Singh (VNIT, Nagpur); Prabhat Kumar Sharma (VNIT-Nagpur)*; Santosh Kumar (LCU)

Thursday 13 April, 2023

Session 3: MC Theory II (1:30pm – 3:30pm)

Novel Interleaved Code for High-throughput Parallel DNA-based Molecular CommunicationsQingwen Wang (Chengdu University of Technology); Yue Sun (Chengdu University of Technology)*; Wanli Cheng (Chengdu University of Technology); Yifan Chen (University of Electronic Science and Technology of China); Kun Yang (University of Essex)
Probabilistic Molecular Internalization in Tumors Based in Diffusion Equation and ElectrodynamicsHuber Nieto-Chaupis (Universidad Autónoma del Perú)*
Organ(oid)-on-Chip Amplifies Diffusion SignalsHamidreza Arjmandi (University of Warwick)*; Mitra Rezaei (University of Warwick); Mohammad Zoofaghari (Oslo University Hospital-Yazd University); kajsa kanebratt (Astrazeneca); Liisa Vilen (AstraZeneca); David Janzen (Astrazeneca); Peter Gennemark (Astrazeneca); Adam Noel (University of Warwick)
Reducing Dispersion in Molecular Communication by Placing Decelerators in the Propagation ChannelAngelika S. Thalmayer (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)*; Alisa Ladebeck (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg); Samuel Zeising (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg); Georg Fischer (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Affinity-Division Multiplexing for Molecular Communications with Ligand ReceptorsAhmet R Emirdagi (Koç University)*; Mahmut Serkan Kopuzlu (Koc University); Mustafa Okan Araz (Koç University); Murat Kuscu (Koc University)

Friday 14 April, 2023

Session 4: Natural and Bio-inspired MC I (10:45am – 11:45am)

A Stochastic Biofilm Disruption Model based on Quorum Sensing MimickersFatih Gulec (York University)*; Andrew W. Eckford (York University)
Characterizing Information Transmission Mechanism in Nerve CellsMuhammad Usman Riaz (South East Technological University)*
Uncovering the role of cell-to-cell communication in tissue response to light-induced mechanical stimulationsHuy Tran (Tampere University)*

Session 5: Natural and Bio-inspired MC II (1:15pm – 2:30pm)

The Influence of Plasmodesmata Number and Opening State on Molecular Transports in PlantsBeatrice Ruzzante (Politecnico di Milano)*; Alessandro Piscopo (Politecnico di Milano); Svyatoslav Salo (Politecnico di Milano); Maurizio Magarini (Polimi); Gabriele Candiani (Politecnico di Milano)
Towards an end-to-end model for yeast cell communications using pheromonesNikolaos Ntetsikas (Frederick University Cyprus)*; Marios Lestas (Frederick University); Styliana Kyriakoudi (University of Cyprus); Antonis Kirmizis (University of Cyprus); Andreas Pitsillides (University of Cyprus); Costas Pitris (University of Cyprus); Bige Unluturk (Michigan State University); IAN F AKYILDIZ (GATECH)
Translation between Cancer Cells and T cells – A Molecular Communication ApproachMaximilian Schäfer (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)*; Alba Garcia-Fernandez (Instituto Interuniversitario de Investigación de Reconocimiento Molecular y Desarrollo Tecnológico (IDM) Universitat de València–Universitat Politècnica de València); Medina Hamidovic (Johannes Kepler University Linz); Helena Florindo (University of Lisbon); Ramon Martinez-Manez (Instituto Interuniversitario de Investigación de Reconocimiento Molecular y Desarrollo Tecnológico (IDM) Universitat de València–Universitat Politècnica de València); Werner Haselmayr (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
Biofilm Water Channel Network Model for Bacterial CommunicationYanahan Paramalingam (University of Warwick)*; Adam Noel (University of Warwick); Hamidreza Arjmandi (University of Warwick)