Predicting evolution – Course and Conference Office

EMBO Workshop

Predicting evolution


This conference will take place at EMBL Heidelberg, with the option to attend virtually. Please see EMBL’s COVID-19 safety recommendations if attending the on-site event.

Conference overview

Advances in genome sequencing and gene editing tools are providing unprecedented insights into biological mechanisms and evolutionary processes. In parallel, computational and theoretical approaches are providing new insights into our understanding of these new data. A goal for this conference is to unite people across theoretical and experimental backgrounds into a coherent focus on “predicting evolution”.

The conference will explore the evolution of biological systems at different levels: from genes and molecules to organism development and ecology. As such, we have invited leaders in their respective fields across various scales of evolution: molecular, network, microbial, developmental, and community. Particular emphasis for this conference will be placed on understanding evolution through mechanistic biology. We will explore recent advances in experimental and theoretical approaches to study how genetic and non-genetic changes drive and constrain evolution. The meeting will offer a training ground and productive learning experience for attendees, and provide networking opportunities for scientists across disciplines relevant to evolutionary biology. It should be of particular interest to those working at the interface of evolution, quantitative genetics, development, and systems biology.

Session topics

  • Predicting the evolution of molecules, part 1
  • Predicting regulatory network evolution
  • Predicting cellular evolution
  • Prediction developmental evolution
  • Predicting population and community evolution
  • Predicting the evolution of molecules, part 2


Carl de Boer

University of British Columbia Vancouver


Georg Hochberg

Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology


Scientific organisers

Conference organiser

Preliminary programme

Got something to say? Tweet it! #EMBOPredictEvo

  • Programme is preliminary and subject to change.
  • For registered participants, recorded talks will be accessible on demand for 2 weeks after the end of the event.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin.
Day 1 – Tuesday 11 July 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
11:30 – 13:00Registration and light refreshments
13:00 – 13:15Opening remarks
Session 1: Predicting the evolution of molecules, part 1
13:15 – 13:40Amanda Larracuente – University of Rochester, USA
13:40 – 14:05Promoter activity dictates the fate of coding mutations
Christian Landry – Institute of Integrative and Systems Biology, Canada
14:05 – 14:30Towards me mechanistic basis of evolvability 
Tzachi Pilpel – Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
14:30 – 14:45Selected short talk 1
14:45 – 15:00Selected short talk 2
15:00 – 15:30Coffee Break and meet the speakers
15:30 – 15:55Clustering structures at the scale of the known protein universe to study protein evolution
Pedro Beltrao – ETH Zurich, Switzerland
15:55 – 16:10Selected short talk 3
16:10 – 16:25Selected short talk 4
16:25 – 16:50Naama Barkai – Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
16:50 – 17:15 Intra-genomic conflict shapes the evolution of genome integrity
Mia Levine – University of Pennsylvania, USA
17:15 – 17:30Flash talks
17:30 – 19:00Dinner in canteen
19:00 – 20:30Science pub quiz & after dinner drinks
Day 2 – Wednesday 12 July 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
Session 2: Predicting regulatory network evolution
09:15 – 09:40 Predicting regulatory evolution: lessons learned from the S. cerevisiae TDH3 gene
Patricia Wittkopp – University of Michigan, USA
09:40 – 09:55Selected short talk 5
09:55 – 10:10Selected short talk 6
10:10 – 10:35Michael Lässig – University of Cologne, Germany
10:35 – 11:05Coffee break and meet the speakers
11:05 – 11:30Biochemical activity is the default DNA state in eukaryotes
Carl de Boer – University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada
11:30 – 11:45Selected short talk 7
11:45 – 12:00Selected short talk 8
12:00 – 12:25Does lab yeast evolution predict wild yeast evolution?
Maitreya Dunham – University of Washington Seattle, USA
12:25 – 14:00Lunch
Session 3: Predicting cellular evolution
14:00 – 14:25Adapting quantitative models of trait evolution to omics data
Camille Berthelot – Institut Pasteur, France
14:25 – 14:40Selected short talk 9
14:40 – 14:55Selected short talk 10
14:55 – 15:10Selected short talk 11
15:10 – 15:40Coffee break and meet the speakers
15:40 – 15:55Selected short talk 12
15:55 – 16:10Selected short talk 13
16:10 – 16:35Predicting experimental evolution in Pseudomonas
Peter Lind – Umeå University, Sweden
16:35 – 17:00Hopi E. Hoekstra – Harvard University/HHMI Cambridge, USA
17:00 – 17:15Flash talks
17:15 – 18:45Poster session 1
18:45Free evening
Day 3 – Thursday 13 July 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
Session 4: Prediction developmental evolution
09:15 – 09:40 Justin Crocker – EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
09:40 – 09:55Selected short talk 14
09:55 – 10:10Selected short talk 15
10:10 – 10:35Genetic and nongenetic evolutionary determinants of cancer driver choice
Duncan Odom – German Cancer Research Center, Germany
10:35 – 11:05Coffee break and meet the speakers
11:05 – 11:30Replaying the tape of life: how predictable is evolution
Catherine Peichel – University of Bern, Switzerland
11:30 – 11:45Selected short talk 16
11:45 – 12:00Selected short talk 17
12:00 – 12:25Diversification of duplicated genes and their cis-regulatory control in shaping natural and engineered plant phenotypes
Zachary Lippman – CSHL/HHMI New York, USA
12:25 – 14:00Lunch
Session 5: Prediction population and community evolution
14:00 – 14:25Joshua Payne – ETH Zurich, Switzerland
14:25 – 14:40Selected short talk 18
14:40 – 14:55Selected short talk 19
14:55 – 15:10Selected short talk 20
15:10 – 15:40Coffee break and meet the speakers
15:40 – 15:55Speaker talk
15:55 – 16:10Selected short talk 21
16:10 – 16:35The rise and falls of PRDM9 in vertebrates
Molly Przeworski – Columbia University New York, USA
16:35 – 17:00Predicting the mutations underlying phenotypic evolution using Gephebase
Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo- Institut Jacques Monod Paris, France
17:00 – 17:15Flash talks
17:15 – 18:45Poster session 2 (even numbers)
18:45 – 20:15Conference dinner in the canteen
20:15 – 23:00Live music
Day 4 – Friday 14 July 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
Session 6: Predicting the evolution of molecules, part 2
09:15 – 09:40Evolution of increased complexity and specificity at the dawn of form I Rubiscos
Georg Hochberg – MPI Marburg, Germany
09:40 – 09:55Selected short talk 22
09:55 – 10:10Selected short talk 23
10:10 – 10:35Provisional parcels for predicting evolution
Brandon Ogbunu – Yale University New Haven, USA
10:35 – 11:05Coffee break and meet the speakers
11:05 – 11:20Selected short talk 24
11:20 – 11:35Selected short talk 25
11:35 – 11:50Selected short talk 26
11:50 – 12:05Closing remarks and poster prize
12:05 Packed lunch and departure
13:00Optional: Bus to Frankfurt airport (Terminal 1)

Practical information

Registration fees and abstract submission

On-site registration fees include admission, conference materials, COVID-19 safety measures, meals and coffee breaks. Participants are expected to book and pay their own accommodation and travel expenses.

Virtual registration fees include access to all of the talks (livestreamed and on demand) and facility to submit questions.

On-site Academia€450
On-site PhD Student€350
On-site Industry€750
Virtual Academia€200
Virtual PhD Student€150
Virtual Industry€250

NO visa support letters will be issued until payment of the registration fee is confirmed.

Accredited journalists may be eligible to register for a reduced press rate or in some cases for complimentary registration. Registrants may be required to provide accreditation or equivalent proof of press membership after registration. Please contact Inna Bösselmann for more information. Please note that we do not offer complimentary registrations for editors of scientific journals.

Confirmation and payment

Registration will be on a first-come first-served basis. Your place can only be confirmed after payment of the registration fee. If you are added to our waiting list, please consider taking advantage of our offerings to participate virtually.

On-site participants: Types of payments accepted are international bank transfers and credit card payments.

Virtual participants: We are only able to accept card payments. In exceptional cases we can accept bank transfers. Please contact events@embl.de for details.

Abstract submission

Only participants registering to attend the on-site event are eligible to submit an abstract. Abstracts will not be accepted from virtual participants.

After registration you can submit your abstract via a separate link that will be provided in the email confirmation. Alternatively, you can access the link on the confirmation page directly after registering. The same login credentials are used for both processes.

Please note:

Abstract body: The limit of 2000 characters refers to manually typed text and excludes spaces. If an error occurs try using a different web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).

If you copy-paste the text into the form, hidden formatting might still be included which may cause the text to exceed the 2,000 character limit resulting in an error message. We recommend you clear all formatting before pasting in the text.

If you have special symbols in your text, make sure you are using Unicode characters, otherwise these will not be recognised.

Title: The title should not exceed 20 words. Only the first word of the title should start with a capital letter and the rest should be lowercase.

Authors and affiliations: Please fill in the author’s details as requested in the online form. The compulsory fields are: First Name, Last Name, Organisation Name (Affiliation or Company), Country and Email.

Kindly mark only one author in the role of First Author and please don’t forget to indicate who will be the Presenter.

Please enter your co-authors correctly via the system by adding accounts together with their organisation/institute. Do not copy-paste them into the body of the abstract text, as they will not be indexed in the abstract book.

Presentation types: When submitting your abstract, you can apply for an oral or poster presentation. A selection process will take place with the results announced 2-3 weeks after the abstract submission deadline.

For detailed instructions on how to submit a conference abstract, follow the instructions provided in this video.

Please check our FAQs pages for further information on how to submit an abstract.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance

Limited financial assistance is provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO in the form of both registration fee waivers and travel grants. These are available for on-site participants at EMBL Conferences and EMBO|EMBL Symposia, and for on-site and virtual participants at EMBO Workshops. We are currently working on securing funding for all virtual participants, and ask that you please apply for financial assistance for both on-site and virtual participation. 

Your place in the meeting is only confirmed by paying the registration fee, which is mandatory even when receiving a fee waiver.

Registration fee waiver

The fee waiver will cover the registration sum that you have paid to attend the course or conference.

Travel grant

The travel grant will cover the cost of travel to an on-site event (airfare, train, bus, taxi, accommodation, visa, and/or registration fees*) and is provided up to specified caps which are normally as follows:

–up to €400 for participants travelling to an EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from within Europe.

–up to €1000 for participants travelling to an EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from outside Europe.

–up to €500 for any participant travelling to an EMBO Workshop.

–up to €1000 for any participant working in Chile, India, Singapore or Taiwan travelling to an EMBO Workshop.

–up to €700 for any participant working in Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, and Turkey travelling to an EMBO Workshop.

*Registration fees are only covered for EMBO Workshops

The organisers may reduce the grant cap to accommodate more participants. Recipients will be notified of their travel cap amount when they are informed of the outcome of their application. Original receipts must be provided with your signature for all costs incurred within two months of completion of travel. Scanned copies cannot be accepted.

Childcare grant (EMBO Workshops only)

For EMBO Workshop participants with children, there is the possibility to apply for a childcare grant to offset child care costs incurred by participants or speakers when participating at a conference. Eligible costs include fees for a baby-sitter or child-care facility, travel costs for a caregiver, or travel costs for taking the child to the meeting etc. Please note that priority will be given to early stage researchers. A maximum amount of €500 can be awarded per participant applying for an EMBO childcare grant. In order to apply for this grant for EMBO Workshops, you must be registered by the abstract submission deadline.


On-site participants

You may apply for financial assistance when submitting your abstract. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.

Virtual participants

If you are attending virtually, you can apply for financial assistance in the submission portal by the abstract deadline. Read the instructions on how to apply for financial assistance. Only submissions for financial assistance will be accepted. Presentation abstracts cannot be submitted here and will be declined. 

In your application you will be asked to summarise your current work,  answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance, and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of all financial assistance during the abstract selection process. Results will be announced approximately 6 – 8 weeks before the event start date, however for some events this may be delayed. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Selection is based on scientific merit, your current work or study location, the reasons for needing financial support, and the impact this event will have on your career.


Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts (from travel costs) have been received.

Further details

View our list of external funding opportunities and information on attending a conference as an event reporter.

For further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.

Accommodation and shuttles

Accommodation is not included in the conference registration fee.

As further changes in our events are possible due to COVID-19, you should book flights, trains and hotels with flexible options and favourable cancellation conditions.

The hotels below have rooms on hold for participants until 13 June 2023, in some cases at special rates. Please email the hotel directly, quoting the booking code PEV23-01 to confirm the exact price of the room.

Hotel AnlageHotel Holländer Hof Hotel Monpti
Hotel Bayrischer Hof Hotel ibis HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City
B&B HotelISG Hotel Staycity Aparthotel Heidelberg
Exzellenz Hotel Leonardo Hotel Heidelberg City CentreSteffi’s Hostel Heidelberg

Conference shuttle buses

Conference shuttle buses are free of charge for participants, and depart from designated bus stops near the hotels to EMBL and back, mornings and evenings.

The bus stops for this conference are:

  • Kurfürsten-Anlage (Opposite Main Train Station)
  • Hotel Premier, Kurfürsten-Anlage 23
  • Leonardo Hotel (Bergheimer Str.)
  • Neckarmuenzplatz
  • Peterskirche
  • ISG Hotel

View Conference shuttle bus stops and hotels in a larger map. Please note that not every bus stop will be used for every event.

Further details

Address: EMBL, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. For further information on getting to EMBL Heidelberg visit Public Transportation to the Venue. For information about accommodation and local transportation please refer to the FAQ page.

On-site information


All meals and coffee breaks are included in the registration fee. Our catering staff will prepare a wide variety of vegetarian meals, meat and fish dishes, soups, pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a variety of desserts.

Please wear your badge at all times when serving yourself.

No food or drinks are allowed in the auditorium.

Charging lockers

There are lockers available next to the stairs leading down into the Auditorium. You will find some of those equipped with sockets to charge your smartphone/tablet etc.

Electricity and charging station

In most places the electricity is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). An adaptor and a plug that fits the German socket may be needed for your appliances/laptop (i.e. American, Japanese, etc.). A USB charging station for electronic devices is available at the registration desk.

EMBL merchandise

If you are interested in purchasing an EMBL souvenir (products presented in the glass display in the registration area), please ask at the registration desk for more information.

Health and safety notes

Please read EMBL’s COVID-19 safety policy for on-site events.
Do not smoke in any EMBL building.
Eating and drinking is prohibited in the Auditorium and all laboratories.
Do not enter any restricted areas or the laboratories unless instructed to do so.

If first aid is required …

  • The first aid room is located next to the ATC Registration Desk (room 10- 205).
  • Dial the Emergency number 222 from any EMBL internal phone only.
  • Where is the accident? What happened? How many injured?
  • Emergency number 06221-387 7821 from mobile phones.
  • Please report all accidents to the conference officer at the registration desk.

In case of fire …

  • Press the nearest fire alarm button or the Emergency number 222 from any internal phone.
  • A loud fire alarm will go off if an evacuation is required. On hearing the alarm leave the building immediately following the escape route and fire wardens and head to one of the meeting points
  • Do not use the lifts.

Beyond first aid…

Please remember to bring your own medication, if needed, to the conference. Note that the next pharmacy is a 4-minute drive from the EMBL, but for many medications you will be required to see a doctor to get a prescription.

Ensure in advance that your medical insurance will cover you during your visit in the event that you do need to see a doctor while in Heidelberg. In any case, the EMBL Course and Conference Office will assist you to get to the pharmacy and a doctor of your choice if necessary.


Wi-Fi is available everywhere on the premises (no password required), just log on to ATC-Guest. The eduroam network (secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community) is also available.

Lost and found

‘’Lost and Found’’ are kept at the registration desk until the end of the conference.


There are lockers available on-site to store your luggage, which require a 2 EURO coin to operate. There is another luggage room on level E0, which is free to use but remains unlocked during the conference.

Nursing room

There is a nursing room available in the ATC Rooftop Lounge on level A29.


During the conference an EMBL Photographer may be taking photographs. If you would not like to appear in these, please inform the photographer or a member of the Course and Conference Office.


We can help printing your boarding passes/train ticket. Please send it to events@embl.de and collect your print-outs at the registration desk.

Room for prayer, yoga and meditation

There is a room for prayer, mediation and yoga located on level E0 behind the Auditorium. Please be respectful of other participants using the room.


A variety of activities in Heidelberg can be found on the website of Heidelberg Marketing.

Travel to and from the venue

During the event we provide conference shuttle buses to and from EMBL. In addition, there is the public bus 39A that serves the EMBL campus and taxis can be easily booked at any time. Information on the conference shuttle buses can be found on the individual event website and more detailed information on travelling to EMBL can be found on our Travel Information page.

Useful German expressions

GoodbyeAuf Wiedersehen
Good morningGuten Morgen
Good afternoonGuten Tag
Good eveningGuten Abend
Good nightGute Nacht
I’m sorryTut mir leid
Excuse me…Entschuldigen Sie
How are you?Wie gehts?
I’m fine thanks. And you?Mir geht es gut , danke, und dir/Ihnen?
What is your nameWie heisst du? Wie heissen Sie?
My name isIch heisse
Do you speak EnglishSprechen Sie Englisch?
I don’t understandIch verstehe nicht
Please speak more slowlyKönnen Sie bitte langsamer sprechen
Thank youDankeschön
Where is the toilet?Wo ist die Toilette?
Please call me a taxiBitte rufen Sie mir ein Taxi
How do I get to….?Wie komme ich zum/zur…..?
A beer/two beers pleaseEin Bier/zwei Bier bitte
A glass of red/white wine pleaseEin Glas Rot/Weisswein bitte
The menu, pleaseDie Speisekarte, bitte
Is there a local speciality?Gibt es eine Spezialität aus dieser Gegend?
I’m VegetarianIch bin Vegetarier
It was deliciousEs war hervorragend
The bill, pleaseDie Rechnung, bitte
I have a headacheIch habe Kopfschmerzen
I have a sore throatIch habe Halsschmerzen
My stomach hurtsIch habe Magenschmerzen
I’m allergic toIch bin allergisch gegen
I need a doctor who speaks EnglishGibt es einen Arzt, der Englisch spricht?
Virtual Participation

What’s included?

  • Access to all the livestreamed talks
  • Video library of the recorded talks during and after the event
  • Facility to submit questions

Please note that only on-site participants are able to submit abstracts and participate in the poster sessions.

Event platform

We are using an event platform for this conference. More information about the platform will be shared ahead of the conference.


  • Do not broadcast the conference to unregistered participants.
  • You are encouraged to tweet and post about the event. Tweet unless the speaker specifically says otherwise, but be mindful of unpublished data. 
  • Please do not capture, transmit or redistribute data presented at the meeting.

Additional information can be found in our Code of Conduct.

Health and well-being

It is important to stay healthy and move around, especially when you are attending an event virtually. We have put together a few coffee break stretches and yoga videos in the conference platform for you to enjoy during the event.

How to ask questions

Please use the Q&A function in the event platform.

If you have any other questions, you can go to the Help Desk in the event platform. Click on ‘more’ on the top menu and click Help Desk. 

Time zone

The programme is planned based on the Europe/Berlin time zone, unless otherwise stated. Please take your time zone into consideration when planning your attendance.

Additional information

Please find additional information including FAQs, terms and conditions, COVID-19 safety policy and travelling to EMBL on our Information for Participants page.

COVID-19 related questions

COVID-19 information for on-site events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found in our COVID-19 FAQs.


Event supporter:

Media partners

International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Sponsorship opportunities

We offer a variety of event sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other conferences, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information on sponsoring possibilities.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.


EMBL wishes to warn sponsors of EMBL conferences and courses of fraudulent schemes purporting to offer sponsorship opportunities on behalf of EMBL or affiliated with EMBL officials. One current scam campaign of which we are aware is conducted using the name ‘Judy Eastman’ (judy@gopcontact.a2hosted.com) and entails approaches to sponsors offering sponsorship opportunities on EMBL’s behalf. Please be kindly advised that all relevant communication regarding sponsorship of EMBL conferences, symposia and courses is handled by EMBL directly and is sent from an official EMBL account. EMBL does not work with any external providers on sponsorship acquisition.

Please also note that:

  • EMBL never provides attendee lists for purchase. Any offers of such are fraudulent.
  • EMBL will never call or email you to ask for your credit card details or to request a payment.
  • All payments are on invoice.

Suspicious communications purportedly from, for or on behalf of EMBL should be reported to EMBL at the following email address sponsorship@embl.de.

Media kit

Want to let others know you’re attending this event? Take a look at our shareable media and feel free to use them in your social media channels or presentations.

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Date: 11 - 14 Jul 2023

Location: EMBL Heidelberg and Virtual

Venue: EMBL Advanced Training Centre


Abstract submission: 18 Apr 2023

Registration (On-site): 30 May 2023

Registration (Virtual): 4 Jul 2023


  • Justin Crocker
    EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

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