Tentative technical program at glance
April 16th
April 17th
April 18th
08:30-09:00   Registration
09:00-10:00  Keynote 1
George Bassel
[Information processing and distributed computation in plant organs]
09:00-10:00  Keynote 2
Prof. Ramón Martínez-Máñez
[Communication at the Nanoscale]
09:00-10:00  Keynote 3
Prof. Jari Hyttinen
[Molecular communications and interplay of neuron-astrocyte networks]
10:00-10:30  Coffee Break
10:00-10:30  Coffee Break
10:00-10:30  Coffee Break
10:30-12:30  Tutorial 1
Adam Noel
[Simulation Methods for MC]
10:30-12:30  Tutorial 2
Haselmayr, Wille, Hamidović
[Microfluidics Research at JKU]
10:30-12:30  Technical 4
12:30-14:00  Lunch
12:30-14:00  Lunch
12:30-14:00  Lunch
14:00-15:30  Technical 1
14:00-15:00  Technical 3
14:00-15:30  Ideation 2
15:30-16:00  Coffee Break
15:30-17:00  Social Event
[Ars Electronica Center]
16:00-17:00  Technical 2
17:00-18:30  Ideation 1
18:30  Welcome Reception
[JKU, Uni Center]
19:00  Banquet
[Poestlingberg Schloessl]

Keynote 1: Information processing and distributed computation in plant organs
Time: Tuesday, April 16 || 09:00-10:00
Prof. Georg Bassel

Prof. Georg Bassel

Chair in Plant Computational Biology
University of Birmingham UK

George Bassel is a Chair in Plant Computational Biology at The University of Birmingham, UK. His lab seeks to understand how information from the environment is processed within complex plant tissues. The research integrates both experimental and theoretical approaches, and lies at the interface between biological and computational sciences.


Plant growth and development is tightly coupled to the environment. These external inputs are processed within organs in order to optimize the timing of key decisions, such as the termination of dormancy or commencement of flowering. In order to better understand how collections of cells in plants process information, parallels and differences between these naturally evolved organisms and engineered computational systems are being examined. Specifically, whether the control principles of distributed computation also apply to information processing in plants. By viewing plant organs as integrated systems of interacting cells, we are mapping intercellular connectivity into networks to reveal the multicellular "circuitry" plants use to compute. Integrating these topological templates with mathematical models capturing the genetic programs that operate within individual cells enables the impact of each cell organization and communication rate on the timing of emergent decision-making to be examined. The development of further theory to identify the bounds of information processing in plants will enable their transformation into rational distributed computing devices.

Keynote 2: Communication at the Nanoscale
Time: Wednesday, April 17 || 09:00-10:00
Prof. Ramón Martínez-Máñez

Prof. Ramón Martínez-Máñez

Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the Polytechnic University of Valencia
Head of the Interuniversity Research Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development
Scientific Director of the CIBER BBN

Prof. Ramón Martínez-Máñez is full Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Head of the Interuniversity Research Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM) in Valencia and Scientific Director of the Biomedical Research Center Network in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and nanomedicine (CIBER BBN). He also belongs to the "Joint Research Unit in Nanomedicine and Sensors" in the Hospital La Fe in Valencia and the "Joint Research Unit in Disease Mechanisms and Nanomedicine" in the Centro de Investigaciín Príncipe Felipe. He is an active researcher in the field of sensing and hybrid organic-inorganic nanostructured gated materials in nanomedicine for delivery applications. His publications (more than 410) have been cited over 17000 times and has an h index of 61 (web of Science; h index of 68 and 23300 times cited in Google Scholar). He has participated in over 100 research projects as coordinator. He has co-authored a scientific reference book published by Wiley in 2010 and is also co-author of 17 book chapters. Has participated in over 170 research conferences. He holds 37 PhD thesis supervised (10 obtained the Polytechnic University of Valencia Ph.D. Award). He is coordinator of the Interuniversity PhD Program in Chemistry at the UPV, which obtained the prize of the Social Council of the UPV to the best doctoral program of the 2017/2018 academic year. He has been visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is Co-Chairman of the journal ChemistryOpen and member of the International Advisory Board of the journals Chem. Asian. J. and ChemPlusChem, published by Wiley-VCH. He has participated in 42 projects in collaboration with national and international companies. He holds 29 patents, 17 of them international. Three of these patents have been transferred to companies. He is co-founder of the spin-off Senolytic Therapeutics SL. He received the Research Excellence Award 2016 from Real Sociedad Española de Quñmica and recently the Rey Jaime I Price of New Technologies in 2018.


Ever since Richard Feyman gave his famous lecture "There's plenty of Room at the Bottom" and envisioned the manipulation of individual atoms in 1959, huge advances in the field of nanotechnology have been made. On this scale, nano-objects integrated by nanocomponents capable of performing simple tasks, such as sensing, actuating and examples such as nanomemories, nanobatteries, nanocontainers and nanomotors have already been developed. Despite the progress made, there is a long way ahead in nanotechnology research and development before we realize its full potential. In particular, communication at the nanoscale between human-made nanodevices remains an almost unexplored topic. An approach for establishing communication at the nanometric level is to mimic how nature communicates. For instance, chemical or molecular communication, based on transmitting and receiving information by means of molecules (chemical messengers) is one of the communication form used by living organisms. Moreover, many swarm systems found in nature communicate by stigmergy, modifying the environment. However, these ideas have been barely explored at the nanoscale. The advantages of nanoparticles that communicate each to another are immediately obvious; they constitute the basis of a dynamically interacting network eventually resulting in certain autonomy of the system.

Keynote 3: Molecular communications and interplay of neuron-astrocyte networks
Time: Thursday, April 18 || 09:00-10:00
Prof. Jari Hyttinen

Prof. Jari Hyttinen

Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology
Tampere University

Professor Jari Hyttinen is full professor and head of BioMediTech unit at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University. His research group Computational Biophysics and Imaging Group develops novel computer simulations (in-silico) on cellular biophysics and in-vitro based electrophysiology and 3D imaging methods for future personalized medicine. Previous he has been a visiting researcher at University of Pennsylvania, University of Tasmania, Duke University and as visiting professor at University of Wollongong 2017 and ETH Zurich 2018. He has been active on scientific societies including Chair (2001-2004) of the Finnish Society of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and president (2015-2017) of the European Alliance on Medical and Biological Engineering Sciences EAMBES. EU. He has been also active on organization of conferences, latest as chair of the joint European Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Nordic-Baltic Meeting on BME. He is also EAMBES Fellow. He has graduated over 110 MSc and 18 PhDs, co-author of more than 390 scientific papers including over 150 referee journal papers and some patents that has also been transferred to companies including www.injeq.com that he was also a co-founder.


Recent evidence in neuroscience research has strengthened the concept of molecular communication and interplay between neurons and astrocytes. The tripartite synapses and astrocyte gliotransmission in neuronal communication has evoked increasing interest. Though the astrocyte and neuronal network functions are interrelated, they are fundamentally different in their signaling patterns and time scales at which they operate. We have composed biologically plausible computational models of singe astrocyte, astrocyte network and astrocyte-neuron network level interactions. On single astrocyte level we have developed a finite element model of the calcium and IP3 signaling in the complex astrocyte geometry driven by the neurotransmitter input from the synapses. In network level the astrocyte and neuronal networks are interconnected by the tripartite synapses. Each astrocyte control several hundreds of synapses that trough the gliotransmission activate astrocyte calcium signaling that can evoke astrocyte network level communications. Our results on single cell level highlight the role of astrocyte morphology on the astrocyte molecular communications. Our results on network level demonstrate the role of astrocytes as regulators of network signaling. Thus highlighting the role of astrocyte interplay in neuronal molecular communications and adaptation.

Tutorial 1: Simulation Methods for Molecular Communication
Time: Tuesday, April 16 || 10:30-12:30
Adam Noel

Adam Noel

Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering
University of Warwick
Coventry, UK

Adam Noel is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK. He received the B.Eng. degree in electrical engineering in 2009 from Memorial University in St. John's, Canada. He received the M.A.Sc. degree in electrical engineering in 2011 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering in 2015, both from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In 2013, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Institute for Digital Communication at Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen, Germany. He has also been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa and the University of Montreal. His research interests are in the prediction and control of biophysical systems at a microscopic level. Dr. Noel has received several awards from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, including a Postdoctoral Fellowship. He also received a Best Paper Award at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Communications.


Molecular communication (MC) is an emerging multi-disciplinary field that applies communications engineering tools to molecular signalling. This tutorial will give a brief overview of the MC field and then consider the simulation of reaction-diffusion environments for molecular communication systems. We will describe the scales of simulation tools available, including those developed within the biophysics community. We will then present some of the specialized tools that have been developed specifically for MC. We will focus on an open source 'sandbox' simulation tool to make the simulation of molecular reaction-diffusion dynamics more accessible to the communications engineering research community. This tool, called AcCoRD (Actor-based Communication via Reaction-Diffusion), will be presented with live demonstrations that show how to understand and visualize common MC channels, how to test new environments, and how to assess MC system performance.

Tutorial 2: Microfluidics Research at JKU
Time: Wednesday, April 17 || 10:30-12:30
Werner Haselmayr, Assistant Professor<br>
                   Prof. Robert Wille <br>
                   Medina Hamidović, PhD student

Werner Haselmayr, Assistant Professor
Prof. Robert Wille
Medina Hamidović, PhD student

Johannes Kepler University Linz

Werner Haselmayr received the Dipl.-Ing. (M.Sc.) degree in telematics from the Graz University of Technology, Austria, in 2007, and the Dr.techn. (Ph.D.) degree in mechatronics from Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, in 2013. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the Institute for Communications Engineering and RF-Systems, Johannes Kepler University Linz. His research interests include algorithm design for wireless communications, iterative pro- cessing, and molecular communications.

Robert Wille received the Diploma and Dr.-Ing. degrees in computer science from the University of Bremen in 2006 and 2009, respectively. He has been with the University of Bremen from 2006-2015 and with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) from 2013 onwards. Additionally, he worked as lecturer and guest professor at the University of Applied Science of Bremen, the University of Potsdam, and the Technical University Dresden. Since 2015, he is Full Professor at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria. His research interests are in the design of circuits and systems for both conventional and emerging technologies including quantum computation, biochips, reversible circuits, and more.

Medina Hamidović has received her B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering at the University of Tuzla in 2014. Since 2017 Hamidović holds two Master's degrees in electrical engineering from Heriot-Watt University (UK) and Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). At the moment, Hamidović is a Ph.D. researcher and University Assistant at the Institute for Communications Engineering and RF-Systems at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria). Her research is focused on the area of molecular communications and microfluidic networks.


Communications and networking on microfluidic chips using tiny volumes of fluids, so-called droplets, is a promising sub-field of molecular communications. In particular, microfluidic networks have been introduced as a promising concept for realizing programmable, flexible, and bio-compatible Lab-on-a-Chip devices, which can be used for example for fast and flexible drug screening. The aim of this tutorial is to bring the attention of the molecular communication community to this exciting research area and to lower its entry barrier. The tutorial will start with an accessible introduction of the fundamentals of droplet-based microfluidics. Then, we will present microfluidic switches as the key building block for microfluidic networks and discuss different network topologies. We will introduce a novel simulation tool dedicated for the fast simulation of microfluidic networks, which is based on the analogy between microfluidic networks and electrical circuits. Then, we present our in-house fast prototyping of microfluidic chips, enabling their fabrication within a couple of minutes at low-cost. The tutorial concludes with a presentation of the most important problems and we show the opportunities for researchers to contribute to this area.