Understanding the genetic and epigenetic programs that determine the identities of the different cell types in a multicellular organism is one of the key problems in biology. The possibility to reverse these programs to generate pluripotent cells from somatic differentiated cells is opening new frontiers in understanding organ morphogenesis and regeneration. Furthermore, striking parallels are emerging between the molecular circuits behind changes in cellular potency and those leading to cell transformation in cancer.
This symposium brought together world-leading scientists from a wide range of topics around the general themes of regulation of gene expression and the biology of stem and cancer cells. By concentrating leaders in a variety of fields, the symposium was particularly fruitful to showcase the diversity of approaches and concepts at the frontiers of these fields. This event fostered interactions among (senior and younger) scientists through plenary sessions, short talks selected from abstracts and poster sessions. The event provided opportunities to establish new collaborations, and to discuss progress and future challenges at the cutting edge of gene regulation, stem cell and cancer biology.