Feral Atlas, a new website on ecological worlds

Feral Atlas invites you to explore the ecological worlds created when nonhuman entities become tangled up with human infrastructure projects. Seventy-nine field reports from scientists, humanists, and artists show you how to recognize “feral” ecologies, that is, ecologies that have been encouraged by human-built infrastructures, but which have developed and spread beyond human control. These infrastructural effects, Feral Atlasargues, are the Anthropocene.

Playful, political, and insistently attuned to more-than-human histories, Feral Atlas does more than catalog sites of imperial and industrial ruin. Stretching conventional notions of maps and mapping, it draws on the relational potential of the digital to offer new ways of analyzing—and apprehending—the Anthropocene; while acknowledging danger, it demonstrates how in situ observation and transdisciplinary collaboration can cultivate vital forms of recognition and response to the urgent environmental challenges of our times. 

Maria Blasco (CNIO, Madrid): Telomerase Activation for the Treatment of Telomere Loss Disorders


Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes which protect the ends of linear chromosomes and which play a pivotal role in cellular and organismal ageing. Over the past two decades short telomeres have been associated with a large disease spectrum including degenerative diseases and cancer. In addition, a number of diseases known as telomeropathies or telomere sydromes, including some cases of aplastic anemia and pulmonary fibrosis, are linked to mutations in telomere maintenance genes. Our laboratory has made significant contributions to dissect the role of telomerase and telomere length as one of the key molecular pathways underlying cancer and aging. We previously demonstrated that telomerase activation by means of transgenesis as well as vector-based gene therapy delays a variety of age-related pathologies and increases survival in wild-type mice. Here, I will discuss our more recent work validating the effectivity of telomerase gene therapy for the treatment of diseases related to the presence of short telomeres including models for myocardial infarction, aplastic anaemia and pulmonary fibrosis.


The conference is on Zoom. If you want to participate, please register by sending an email to Maël Lemoine (name.surname [+]@u-bordeaux.fr).


Short bio:



Scientific Director of the CNIO (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas)

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid – Spain

Head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group (CNIO)

Maria A. Blasco obtained her PhD in 1993 for her research on viral DNA polymerases at the Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" (CSIC-UAM, Madrid, Spain) under the supervision of Margarita Salas. Following a postdoctoral stay with Carol Greider at her Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York, USA) where she isolated the first mammalian telomerase gene and generated the first knockout mouse for telomerase, Blasco returned to Spain in 1997 her own laboratory at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC (Madrid, Spain). She joined the CNIO in 2003 as Head of the Telomere and Telomerase Group and Director of the Molecular Oncology Programme (2003-2012). She served as CNIO Vice Director (2005-2011), position she relinquished to take up her current appointment as CNIO Director in June 2011.

Blasco´s Group has made an array of seminal contributions to the understanding the role of telomere biology in ageing, tumourigenesis, and, more recently, on the biology of both adult and induced pluripotent stem cells (ESC and iPSC), as well as on the translation of that knowledge into therapeutic strategies and applications.

Maria A. Blasco has authored to date 269 articles, and her h-index is of 87. Her work is routinely published in high impact journals, such as Science (3 papers), Nature (4 papers), Nature Genetics (6 papers), Nature Reviews Genetics(2 papers), Nature Cell Biology (5 papers), Nature Communications (13 papers) and Cell (9 papers). Her group continues to engage with many scientists and Institutions world-wide.

Blasco has merited vast recognition, both national and international. She was elected EMBO Member in 2000 and sat at the EMBO Council during 2008-2011. She was the recipient the EMBO Gold Medal in 2004. She has also been distinguished with the European Association of Cancer Research “Young Investigator Award” (2002), the Joseph Steiner Award (2003), the Rey Jaime I Prize for Basic Research (2007), the Körber European Science Award (2008), and the Spanish National Research Award in Biology Santiago Ramón y Cajal (2010). Maria A. Blasco became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Phramacy in 2013. In 2019 she was named Vice-Chair of SOMMa (‘Severo Ochoa’ Centres and ‘María de Maeztu’ Units of Excellence Alliance) and also became a member of the Board of Trustees of Museo del Prado (Madrid, Spain). Blasco has received three Doctorate Honoris Causa in Spain: Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, Spain (2014), Universidad of Alicante (2017) and Universidad of Murcia (2018). In 2020 became member of the Real Patronato of Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Three positions in the Conceptual Biology and Medicine Group at University of Bordeaux (June 2020)


Two PhD positions and one Postdoc position are open at the University of Bordeaux.

They are open to philosophers of biology or medicine and to biologists alike.

Both the PhD positions and the postdoc position are 3 year-long.

The research of the PhD students and the postdoc will be on cancer. The method will necessarily be immersive: integrated into the ImmunoConcEpT lab, the candidate will work in close collaboration with scientists from this laboratory or, depending on the choice of theme, from another partner laboratory specialized in cancer. The candidate must be able to immediately become involved in international research in the philosophy of science and take his/her place within the PhilInBioMed network.

The laureates will join the Conceptual Biology and Medicine Group, a group of philosophers embedded in a scientific lab, and the PhilInBioMed network  a dynamic international network of philosophers of biology and medicine interested in practicing philosophy in a scientific environment. The working language is English and a strong interest in international collaboration is required.

The deadline for application is July 15th, 2020. The results will be known by July 25th at the latest.

To apply, material should be sent to: Maël Lemoine and Thomas Pradeu.

Candidates should send their CV and a description of the project they would like to develop in this environment (between 5 and 10 pages). Candidates should also ask 2 people they have worked with to send a letter of recommendation directly to the email addresses above.

It is highly recommanded that applicants contact us before sending their application.


PhD in Philosophy of medicine

Philosophy of medicine is now a traditional part of philosophy of science. In this domain, several authors have proposed detailed analyses of the specific case of cancer to illustrate a more general point in philosophy of medicine, for instance, the nature of classifications in medicine, the difference between function and dysfunction, the existence of theories in medicine. In contrast, few authors have so far investigated the specificity of cancer itself: for instance, the specific difficulties of the demarcation between healthy and cancerous tissue in early detection and screening; the major conceptions of the therapeutic approach to cancer, from surgery to immunotherapies; the impact on the conception of clinical trials in oncology of stratification by biomarkers of therapeutic response in personalized medicine; the strong links between models of cancer pathophysiology and implicit models of an effective therapeutic intervention. This PhD project will study the specific characteristics of cancer, from the point of view of philosophy of medicine.


PhD in Philosophy of biology

Philosophy of Biology is a classic domain of philosophy of science. Its main topics are diverse, with a majority of work focusing on evolutionary theory. Conceptual and philosophical approaches to cancer constitute an emerging trend in philosophy of biology, especially since the recent publication of several monographs. Yet, these monographs have illustrated major questions of philosophy of biology, such as the nature of multi-level explanations, reductionism, or the nature of genetic causality, rather than exploring specifically the nature of cancer as a biological phenomenon.

Among the issues that have barely been explored hitherto in philosophy of biology and could be explored by a PhD student in our lab, the following can be mentioned:

i) When and in which organisms cancer appeared in evolution?

ii) In which species "cancers" exist today?

iii) How is cancer related to multicellularity?

iv) Is cancer a decohesion of the biological individual, and if so how should this "decohesion" be understood?

v) What is the role of the immune system in the development and dissemination of cancer? Does the appearance of cancer reflect a dysfunction of immune surveillance?

More generally, any proposal of a PhD topic focusing on cancer and using the methodology of philosophy of biology and/or conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches to the life sciences will be considered.

Postdoctoral researcher in Philosophy of biology and/or Philosophy of medicine

Philosophy of biology is a classical field of philosophy of science, and philosophy of medicine, a more recent and related field. Both have recently turned their attention to cancer, with varied contributions on topics such as: the nature of multi-level explanations, reductionism, the nature of genetic causality, the nature of classifications in medicine, the difference between function and dysfunction, the existence or not of theories in medicine. Based on his or her experience and previous work, the candidate will be interested in a major theme in the philosophy of cancer, either in the philosophy of biology or in the philosophy of medicine. Examples of such themes are the emergence of cancer during evolution, its extent in the reign of the living, its links with the most fundamental properties of a multicellular organism, the nature of its development, its relationship with the immune system, the exact nature of the "decohesion" that it operates within a living being, or the demarcation between healthy and cancerous tissue in early detection, the major conceptions of therapeutic management of cancer, from surgery to immunotherapy, the impact on the design of clinical trials in oncology of biomarker stratification of therapeutic response in "personalized medicine". 


Recent publications of our group on the topic

– Rondeau E., Larmonier N., Pradeu T. and Bikfalvi A. [co-senior authors] (2019) Philosophy of biology: Characterizing causality in cancer eLIFE 8:e53755.

– Pradeu T. (2019), Philosophy of Immunology. Cambridge University Press, Elements in Philosophy of Biology Series (Open Access).

– Laplane L., Duluc D., Bikfalvi A, Larmonier N., and Pradeu T. (2019), Beyond the tumour microenvironment. International Journal of Cancer 145(10), 2611-2618.

– Lemoine M, ' Molecular complexity: Why has psychiatry not been revolutionized by genomics (yet)? ', in G. Boniolo & M. Nathan (ed), Foundational Issues in Molecular Medicine, Routledge, London, 2016, pp. 81-99.

-Lemoine M, Introduction à la philosophie des sciences médicales, Hermann, Paris, avril 2017. Deuxième édition : automne 2017.

-Lemoine M, ' Animal Extrapolation in Preclinical Studies. An analysis of the tragic case of TGN1412 ', Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Science, 61 (2017), p. 35-45.

-Lemoine M, 'Neither from words, nor from visions: understanding p-medicine from innovative treatments', Lato Sensu (en ligne).

– Pradeu T. (2019), Philosophy of Biology: Immunology and individuality, eLIFE 8:e47384.

– Laplane L., Mantovani P., Adolphs R., Chang H., Mantovani A., McFall-Ngai M., Rovelli C., Sober E., and Pradeu T. (2019), Why science needs philosophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences USA (PNAS) 116 (10) 3948-3952.

– Laplane L., Duluc D., Larmonier N., Pradeu T. & Bikfalvi A. [co-senior authors] (2018), The Multiple Layers of the Tumor Environment. Trends in Cancer 4(12), 802-809.

PhilInBioMed elected 1 of 6 Useful Resources For Biology Enthusiasts

The video platfrom Wiki.ezvid.com is a free-to-use video wiki, where a user is introduced to a concept in the space of a four-to-seven minute video presentation, and then additional text, images, data, and links to third-party information sources are provided to add more detail to each topic. The website aims to answer questions on the Internet in ways that are accessible to anyone, without technical jargon or unnecessary digression.

Recently a video entitled 6 Useful Resources For Biology Enthusiasts has been added and the PhilInBioMed website came in on place three. We are happy that through this video the interdisciplinary apporach of the PhilInBioMed network will become known to a wider audience. We hope it will inspire both scientists and philosophers to take a look at the work done in the network and to join interdisciplinary collaborations.

‘What is an Individual Organism? Philosophical Problems’ Conference in Krakow


Understanding the origins and nature of biological individual constitute important problems in the biological sciences. For instance, what separates a genuine biological individual from an aggregate of lower units, or from a population of interacting lower entities? Answering these questions could permit us to understand better the status of ant colonies or honey bees, for it is not clear where do they belong. Furthermore, in recent years multispecies ensembles made of host and their symbiotic microorganisms (‘holobionts’), has been called the real unit upon which natural selection act, which has led to a debate involving both biologists and philosophers of biology. The aim of this conference is to explore the philosophical issues that have been raised over the concept of biological individuality. We welcome any submissions that touch those problems, including attempts to answer the following questions:

What makes a group of objects an individual?

Is there one proper way of individualization?

Can we have more than one concept of biological individuality?

What is the role of biological practice in those debates?

How biological individuals evolve?


Keynote speakers:

Dominika Włoch-Salamon (Jagiellonian University) is a biologist interested in social behaviour of microorganisms, experimental evolution and programmed cell death.

Learn more about Dominika: http://www.eko.uj.edu.pl/en_GB/zespol-genetyki-ewolucyjnej/badania


Pierrick Bourrat (Macquarie University and the University of Sydney) is a philosopher of biology interested in evolutionary theory, and evolutionary individuality.

Learn more abour Pierrick: http://pierrickbourrat.com/


General Information


Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University

Coordinator: Adrian Stencel

Who can apply?

Philosophers, biologists, medical doctors, and any other scholars, at any point in their career, who are interested in this subject.


English is the conference language.

Where and when will the conference be held?

In Kraków, 11 October 2019.

How to apply?

Send an abstract (maximum 500 words) before 25 August 2019 to: philbio.workshops@gmail.com

All decisions will be made prior to 5 September 2019.


New Philosophy of Biology section in eLIFE


The importance of philosophy in the life sciences is becoming more and more obvious – to philosophers and scientists alike. One marker for the increased awareness is the new "Philosophy of Biology" section of eLIFE. This peer-reviewed journal targets an audience in the biomedical and life science field. The fact that they now welcome spontaneous submissions from philosophers of biology is a major step towards more interdisciplinarity. Among the first to publish in this section are PhilInBioMed members Lucie Laplane, Sabina Leonelli, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein and Thomas Pradeu.


Summer school: Data & Health

Big data and algorithms are profoundly transforming contemporary medicine.

The program of this interdisciplinary summer school will present the genetic and bioinformatics foundations of this evolution and its philosophical, ethical, legal, sociological and psychological issues. Each session will include a conference and a workshop on a specific case. Students will actively participate in the final synthesis.

Expected sessions

– Big data and health: legal issues

– Data, health and ethical issues

– Brugada syndrome and connectivity map approach

– Big data and medical diagnosis

– From basic research to the patient: contribution of integrated biology in mitochondrial diseases

– Big data and the patient

– Bioinformatics and health

One day in Nantes to visit a research institution and discover the city.

The aim is to provide an overview of a set of problems, related to the use of data in health, thanks to humanities and social sciences methods.The course is intended for students and researchers interested in medicine, genetics, bioinformatic, laws or humanities.

The program will be entirely taught in English.

More information

“Fitness Meets Niche Construction and Symbiosis”, Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Kraków 2019



The term  fitness is used very often in evolutionary biology and plays a central role in  the  theory of evolution. However,  for  decades , the status of this concept has been debated , and  many questions have been raised by  philosophers and biologists alike . What is the definition  of fitness? What does being fitter really mean, in scientific terms ? How  can fitness be  measured ? In  recent years , new ideas  have  emerged within the scientific community  which  might shed some new light on our understanding of fitness. However, their  relationship to  the  debate concerning fitness still need s to be established.  Two things , among many others,  are  particularly  worth mentioning here : first , the theory of niche construction ,  which invites us to  think of  an  environment  not  as  being  granted  to  organisms , but  as  created by them . Thus this  theory  transforms our understanding of environments, a concept which  figures  frequently  in  fitness literature. Second , microbiology teaches us that plants and animals interact with many  symbiotic microorganisms.  Moreover,  these  microbes exert  a  major impact on  the fitness of  these plants and animals ,  thus expanding our knowledge of the factors that determine  fitness. The question is  whether – and  if so,  how – these discoveries influence the debate concerning  fitness. The aim of the workshop is  to  explore this question.

Keynote Speaker:

Lynn Chiu is a philosopher of biology  affiliated with the ImmunoConcept Lab of  the  University of Bordeaux/CNRS , which operates  at the intersection of  biology and philosophy.  Her past research and current interest s concern many important problems  found at the frontiers of  the  philosophy of biology,  such as  the  philosophy of perception, niche  construction,  symbiosis , and biological individuality.  Learn more about Lynn here : https://sites.google.com/view/lynnchiu/

Program (click to enlargen)


General Information

Organizers: Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University
Coordinator: Adrian Stencel

Who can apply?

Philosophers, biologists, medical doctors, and any other scholars, at any point in their career,  who are interested in this subject .

Where  and  when  will  the workshop  be held ?

In  Kraków,  6th and 7th of  June 2019 .

How to apply?

Send  an  abstract (max imum 500 words) before 31 March 2019 to:  philbio.workshops@gmail.com
All decision s will be made  prior to 30 April  2019 .


This workshop is supported by