Summer School
Venice May 4-17, 2008



Recent advances in biology, chemistry, computing and engineering have brought us close to the point where it will be possible to build artificial living cells. This is the theme of “Blueprint for an Artificial Cell” a multidisciplinary summer school, organized by the European Center for Living Technology with funding from the European PACE project. The school will provide tutorials to familiarize participants with relevant concepts and techniques from outside their own fields of specialization, offer them with an up to date vision of the “state of the art”, expose them to advanced research, described by leaders in the field, and make them aware of the key research challenges that still need to be answered.


Admission to the school is open to all students and researchers with a degree or equivalent experience in biology, chemistry, computer science, or other relevant disciplines (e.g. micro-fluidics). No previous experience with artificial cells is required. The school will admit a maximum of 30 students chosen through a selection procedure administered by the school. The selection will be based on candidates previous experience and current research interests and will aim to create a mix of researchers from different scientific backgrounds

Teaching methods

Teaching methods will include tutorials to bring participants up to scratch in areas outside their own field of specialization; advanced lectures and workshops for specialists, hands-on exercises in the chemistry and the computer lab; lectures by leading figures in artificial cell research, illustrating their own research and results; and multidisciplinary workshops.

The working language for the school will be English.

Registration fee

The registration fee is €500. The fee includes meals and lodging in facilities provided by the ECLT. The ECLT will make available a limited number of bursaries for students who are not able to afford the full cost of the school. Travel to Venice will be at participants own expense.

Paying your registration

Request for admission

To request admission to the school, download the “Request for admission” from and return the form to, not later than March 31, 2008.

Requests that arrive after the deadline will be considered on a first come first served basis.



  1°Strategies for building an artificial cell

  • Protocells, complexity and the nature of life
  • Bottom up strategies
  • Top down strategies

  2°: Theoretical background

  • What is life: a computational approach
  • From replicators to chemical complexity
  • Physical self-assembly: the origin of mesoscale complexity
  • Dynamical systems: the complex systems route to complexity
  • Organic chemistry and the origin of life

  3°: Key protocell functionalities

  • Lipid assembly and self-assembly for protocells
  • Contained replicators for protocells
  • Minimal mechanisms for protocells

  4°: Protocell visions

  • Systems chemistry
  • Rasmussen et al. minimal protocell
  • Luis-Szostak minimal protocell
  • Kaneko-Yomo minimal protocell
  • Lancet et al. minimal protocell
  • McCaskill complementation protocell
  • A roadmap to protocells

  5°: Tools

  • Genetic algorithms and evolutionary computation
  • Dissipative particle dynamics
  • Micro-fluidics
  • Combinatorial experimental designs and statistical models

  6°: Scientific, social and technological impact

  • Protocells for information technology
  • Applications of artificial cells
  • Embodied computing on the nano-scale: protocells as a novel basis for robotics
  • Social and ethical impact of protocells





Organization and coordination by  Xiwrite Srl

Via M. Pantaleoni, 3
00044 Frascati
Tel: 06.9417507