Evolution in Action

Evolution in Action 11 June, 2023 - 15 June, 2023

Monte Verità, Strada Collina 84, 6612 Ascona, Switzerland

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General Information

The International Conference Evolution in Action brings together researchers with a common interest in genomic technologies and their application to evolutionary questions.

Evolutionary biology plays a central role in understanding mechanisms and processes that shape biological systems. Despite its relevance for many scientific fields, researchers addressing evolutionary questions often work somewhat isolated in their respective discipline, discouraging interdisciplinary discussions.

The genomic revolution has strongly altered the research field of evolutionary biology. Sequencing technologies have become so powerful and affordable that the genetic variability of entire genomes and even of many individuals can be directly studied. Such approaches enable research especially on rapid evolutionary changes and are key to understanding, e.g., the evolution of human, animal, and plant pathogens, domestication principles, and processes underlying rapid adaptation. These are socially important topics, as seen for example in the speedy emergence of virus variants in SARS-CoV-2 or the adaptation of wild species and crops to climate change.

With this conference, we aim to facilitate interdisciplinary research integrating biology, medicine, agricultural, and computer sciences to address evolutionary questions that are relevant to our changing world and society.

Meeting organisers:

University Research Priority Program Evolution in Action: From Genomes to Ecosystems

University of Zurich

c/o Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Zollikerstrasse 107

8008 Zurich




Keynote Anthropological Genetics

Anne Stone

Regent’s Professor, Arizona State University, USA


Keynote Evolution of Plant Reproductive Traits

George Coupland

Professor of Reproductive development and the evolution of perennial life history, Director of the Department of Plant Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany


Session 1 Pathogen Evolution

Francois Balloux

Professor of Computational Systems Biology, Director of the UCL Genetics Institute, University College London, UK

Eva H Stukenbrock

Max Planck Professor of Environmental Genomics, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel and Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Germany


Session 2 Polyploidy & Epigenetic Variation

Zengjian Jeffrey Chen

J. Sibley Centennial Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Yoav Soen

Professor of Adaptive Plasticity, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


Session 3 Domestication

Takao Komatsuda

Professor, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

Esther van der Knaap

Professor, University of Georgia, USA


Session 4 Emerging Trends in Evolution

Tal Dagan

Professor of Evolutionary Microbiology, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany

Tulio de Oliveira

Professor of Bioinformatics, Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Session 5 Adaptation to Changing Environments

Hernán Burbano

Royal Society Wolfson Fellow and Associate Professor of Ancient Plant Genomics, University College London, UK

Tábita Hünemeier

Ramon y Cajal Researcher Human of Population Genomics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain


Workshop Machine Learning in Evolution

Franz Baumdicker

PI Mathematical and Computational Population Genetics, University Tübingen, Germany

Sara Mathieson

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Haverford College, USA