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The NSF-Simons Center for Multiscale Cell Fate Research (CMCF) is connecting scientists across mathematical, physical, and biological sciences to usher in a new era of biology. CMCF is one of four NSF-Simons Research Centers for Mathematics of Complex Biological Systems situated across the country, jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Simons Foundation.

Cells, the building blocks of life, are complex machines constructed from genetic blueprints that are strongly influenced by their in vivo environment. Recent advances in single cell measurement indicate that cells are more heterogeneous, with vastly more unknown types, than previously recognized, and that cell fate decisions are stochastic, dynamic, and complex. Massive genomic data at the single-cell scale are beginning to reveal new complex genotypes, while live imaging of cells in space shows novel phenotypes and unresolved functions in dynamic environments.

These newly-observed heterogeneities and the associated stochastic transitions are challenging how we define cell fate. Measurements of noise and epigenetic regulation suggest the importance of other previously unexplored layers of complexity driving cell fate decisions. It is increasingly clear that experimental tools alone are insufficient to dissect cell fate, and mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches are becoming indispensable to revealing cell fate: an emergent property arising from complex interactions among biochemical and physical events across temporal and spatial scales within and outside cells.

Questions? Ideas? Contact us:

Call for Proposals:

Convergence Acceleration Teams (CAT)

Convergence Acceleration Teams (CAT): A key to jumpstarting a collaborative project, especially one with researchers from different backgrounds, is to have a short (<1 week), focused effort to build momentum.

We invite proposals for Convergence Accelerator Teams, a group of 3-6 researchers (at any career level, from any institution) who will visit the Center at UC Irvine for a session lasting 3-5 days. The two-page proposals should introduce a specific research question, in the area of cell behavior across scales, and explains why bringing a team together at this time will have significant impact on the success of the project. This program is to accelerate an existing project idea, rather than to seed a new idea. Proposals may be submitted any time throughout the year, and will be evaluated by a Center committee at least every two months. The winning teams will receive support for travel and lodging in Irvine. The Center will facilitate the focused research group activities with office space and access to a conference room and other Center facilities. Winning proposals are selected for scientific merit, the likelihood that this session will result in tangible outcome, e.g., a grant proposal, a paper, or a software repository, and that this outcome is accelerated by the session (e.g., because the session brings together researchers from geographically distant institutions). A one-page summary of the team’s works at the Center will be required at the end of the team’s visit. Teams will be invited to present their research at the following year’s Annual Center Symposium.

For questions and submission, please email


Applications are invited for three faculty position openings at University of California, Irvine (UCI). We seek candidates with research interests related to the broad themes of the NSF-Simons Center for Multiscale Cell Fate Research. The three faculty positions are hosted at three different departments at UCI. Each position opening has a different application link and a slightly different deadline:

  • Mathematics or/and Physics (by 11/15/2018): Apply here
  • Statistics (by 11/1/2018): Apply here
  • Developmental and Cell Biology (by 11/30/2018): Apply here

If you have any questions on the positions, please email to the contact person listed in each search link or


We are recruiting! Opportunities to join the center as an NSF-Simons Postdoctoral Fellow are open now. Successful candidates will work with center faculty members to carry out interdisciplinary research projects on cell fate dynamics.

Candidates with training/experience in modeling, informatics, or experimental biology are all welcome to apply. Full details and application portal are available here.