About Qbio, the new centre for quantitative biology

, updated on
21 September 2021

The new ENS-PSL Center for Quantitative Biology (QBio) aims to be at the forefront of the transformative changes underway in the life sciences, both in their questioning and in their methodology.

Why a quantitative biology center?

The spectacular successes of molecular biology associated with increasingly powerful analysis technologies (imaging, ohmic, micro-fluidics, optogenetics, CRISPR, ...) have revolutionized the scientific landscape, creating the possibility to experimentally manipulate and interrogate the complex aspects of living systems.

This transformation has led to the need for quantitative approaches to predict and decipher fundamental mechanisms that remain inaccessible to simple mutations and interpretations alone, due to the strong coupling and multiple scales involved. Modeling and mathematics are not an absolute novelty in biology: many works of the 1950s-60s -in particular under the leadership of J. Monod and his collaborators- had this approach, but their approach has been supplanted by the molecular revolution. 

Our objective? To discover the fundamental organizational principles of living systems in order to understand and predict them. Massimo Vergassola, Director of QBio


It is now crucial to revive this multidisciplinary spirit and to fuel it with cutting-edge computational, experimental and theoretical approaches. 

The ENS and PSL are in a unique position in France to meet these challenges. First, through their tradition of scientific excellence in the various disciplines at the heart of the QBio project: biology, chemistry, applied mathematics, physics, cognitive and computational sciences. Secondly, by the high quality of the students, who are highly selected and have a remarkable theoretical background. 

Finally, the collaborations already established between researchers from different departments and institutions within PSL, the start of joint seminar programs and pioneering initiatives at the interfaces (notably, the Q-Life Convergence Institute within the framework of the Plan d'Investissement d'Avenir) will be amplified and solidified by the QBio initiative.