Your browser does not support or is disabling JavaScript.


EMBO|FEBS Lecture Course

Venice summer school 2019: Mechanism in development and evolution

26 – 30 August 2019 | Venice, Italy

EMBO LogoFEBS logo
  • Registration Deadline
  • 15 April 2019
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 15 April 2019
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 15 May 2019
  • Payment Deadline
  • 30 June 2019

Apply now!

Find us

Tweet #EMBOevodevo

Download calendar invitation



About the EMBO-FEBS Lecture Course

Understanding organismal development and its evolution has been one of the biggest challenges for biology since its earliest beginnings. It is the central aim of developmental biology to elucidate the mechanisms underlying pattern formation and morphogenesis. By extension, evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is also considered a “mechanistic science.” But what exactly is meant by “mechanism” in these contexts? What is a developmental mechanism? What is a “mechanism” in developmental evolution? How do these “mechanisms” contribute to evolutionary change? The answer to these fundamental questions is far from clear. And yet, clarity on this foundational conceptual issue is essential for research progress, not only in development and evolution but far beyond, as the nature of the term “mechanism” determines the questions we ask and the explanations that are accepted as valid in disciplines across the life and cognitive sciences.

We have gathered a select group of world-leading empirical investigators and theoreticians from the field of developmental biology and evo-devo together with modelers and philosophers of biology to discuss what “mechanism” means, and what kind of properties the concept should incorporate to guide productive new research and the integration of developmental biology and evolutionary theory. This integration lies at the very heart of modern biology. Its relevance transcends the scope of evo-devo, since an understanding of the mapping from genotype to phenotype through metabolism, physiology, and development is also crucial in other fields, such as the genetic study of complex disease, or organismal behaviour.

This EMBO|FEBS Lecture Course is mainly aimed at early-stage (PhD or postdoc) empirical and theoretical researchers with a general background and interest in developmental and/or evolutionary biology. More senior investigators are welcome to apply as well. Exceptions can be made for motivated masters students. Participants of previous Venice Summer Schools in Evo-Devo are expressly encouraged to reapply as this course has an entirely different topic. The EMBO|FEBS Lecture Course will equip participants with the conceptual tools to engage in a productive discussion of the notion of “mechanism,” and to relate this notion to their own research questions and explanations.

About EMBO Courses and Workshops

EMBO Courses and Workshops are selected for their excellent scientific quality and timelines, provision of good networking activities for all participants and speaker gender diversity (at least 40% of speakers must be from the underrepresented gender).

Organisers are encouraged to implement measures to make the meeting environmentally more sustainable.







  • Registration Deadline
  • 15 April 2019
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 15 April 2019
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 15 May 2019
  • Payment Deadline
  • 30 June 2019



The fee is all-inclusive and covers:

  • Accommodation in shared double rooms at the Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli ( close to the famous Accademia bridge and museum in Venice, at the same location the lectures take place.
  • Breakfast and lunch, plus a welcome buffet lunch on Monday evening (dinner on the other days of the course is self-provided).


Instructions for payment of the registration fee will be sent to successful applicants by email upon acceptance.

Payment occurs through (international) bank transfer.

Selection criteria

Applications should include a short CV, motivation letter, and a brief abstract for the poster presentation.

Applicants will be chosen mainly based on their stated motivation and interest in the topics of the course. The CV will be consulted to ensure that the applicant has the required background to be able to follow the course. The research abstract is not part of the selection procedure.

Abstract guidelines

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 and clearly summarize the background, aims, and methods of the project. The description should be accessible to researchers with a broad range of backgrounds, from experimental biology, to mathematical modeling, to the philosophy of science. The aim of the poster session is to acquaint the participants with each others’ research interests. The poster should present the participants’ research project, which does not have to be directly related to the topics of the lectures. If a connection exists, please do state it.

Poster specifications

Please use standard poster sizes no larger than A0. Hand-drawn or live-drawn posters are encouraged (if well prepared)!

Travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for participants. Applicants do not need to apply separately for travel grants for this event but should indicate on the registration form if they wish to be considered for a travel grant. Selection of awardees is handled directly by the organizer who will notify all eligible participants. More information is available at EMBO Travel Grants' page.

Child care grant

EMBO Courses and Workshops offers grants to offset additional child care costs incurred by participants or speakers when participating at any EMBO Courses and Workshop funded meeting. Eligible costs include fees for a caregiver or child-care facility, travel costs for a caregiver, or travel costs for taking the child to the meeting etc. Please indicate on the registration form whether you would like to be considered for the grant. Please also describe how you intend to use the child care grant and specify the sum that you will need.



Berta Verd

Department of Genetics
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambs CB2 3EH
United Kingdom

+44 7459 226 443




Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli

Rio Terà Foscarini, 909/A
30123 Dorsoduro,
Venice, Italy


Phone: + 39 041 522 4077

Fax: +39 041 528 6214


The Cultural Centre Don Orione Artigianelli is located inside an old monastery in the centre of Venice. Accommodation and breakfast/lunch are included in the registration fee, and will be provided in the building complex where the lectures are held. The monastery is organized around a central courtyard where coffee breaks and small group discussions will take place. All rooms are spacious, bright and overlook the gardens or cloisters. They are equipped with air conditioning, WI-FI, private bathroom with shower, safe, hairdryer, and telephone. Buffet breakfast is provided at the Centro, and lunch will be served at the Restaurant San Trovaso, which is associated with the centre. The building has been recently restored and equipped with the latest technology to host conferences and meetings.

Participants are expected to share a double room.



By plane from Marco Polo Airport in Venice:

The most scenic and stylish way to approach Venice is to take the water bus (vaporetto) operated by Alilaguna (blue line) and get off at Zattere (takes about 1.5 hours, but is well worth it). Walk along the wide street in front of you for about 150 meters. You will find the entrance to the Centro at No. 909/a to your left (in front of the S. Agnese church).

The faster and cheaper option is to take the ATVO bus, or ACTV bus No. 5, from the airport to Piazzale Roma.

From Piazzale Roma, you can take the water bus (vaporetto) lines No. 1 or 2 in direction of S. Marco along the Canal Grande. Get off at Accademia. Keep to the left and take the Rio Terà Foscarini on your right. After 200 meters, you will find the entrance of Don Orione at No. 909/a to your right (in front of the S. Agnese church).

By plane, from San Giuseppe Airport in Treviso:

Take the ATVO bus from the airport to Piazzale Roma. From there, follow the instructions above.

By train, from Venezia S. Lucia station:

Leave the station by turning right and crossing a small canal to the Piazzale Roma. From there, follow the instructions above.

By car:

After crossing the Ponte della Libertà into Venice, you can park at the Tronchetto Interparking­. From there, take water bus (vaporetto) line No. 2 in direction of S. Zaccaria and get off at Zattere. Walk along the wide street in front of you for about 150 meters. You will find the entrance to the Centro at No. 909/a to your left in front of the S. Agnese church.

Alternatively, park at the Piazzale Roma parking. From Piazzale Roma to Don Orione, follow the instructions above.

If you don’t have too much luggage and are not daunted by the challenge of navigating the labyrinthine streets of Venice, we also recommend walking from Piazzale Roma to Don Orione. It only takes about 20 min and its extremely scenic. At your own risk of getting lost though!

About the Area

Venice is a car-free city. The entire city centre is walkable within a reasonable amount of time. Don Orione is about 15 min walk from San Marco, with many of Venice’s main sights in close distance. The city is very quiet and safe. Be aware that most restaurants and bars close quite early. Dinner prices at restaurants are rather steep, but the organisers know an affordable pizzeria, and there are a number of student bars around the Campo Santa Margarita that should help you avoid financial ruin.

Do take some time before or after the meeting to explore Venice. It is a unique and spectacular place!

EMBO Reports FEBS Logo