Physics of Living Systems Student Research Network (PoLS SRN)

Brief Description

NSF’s international Physics of Living Systems (iPoLS) program funds networking activities among graduate students and educators working on the physics of living systems. This trans-institutional student research network (SRN) includes a variety of activities to encrouage regular interactions between students and faculty at participating institutions. For more information or to access the PoLS “intranet”, send e-mails to participants or contribute to the PoLS blog, visit

The iPoLS SRN includes or will include the following activities:

  • Annual meetings
  • Luncheons at conferences network participants attend
  • Video meetings or presentations
  • iPoLS student research exchange visits

Over the years, the PoLS SRN has become international in scope, thus being called iPoLS SRN, the “i” standing for “international.”

iPoLS SRN annual meetings

Annual meetings typically take place in July at an institution that is part of the network. Students and faculty from interdisciplinary programs at participating instructions attend. This provides a great setting to meet others who are conducting research at the interface of physics and biology.

First-year PEB students attend the PoLS SRN annual meeting and present posters on the modules they completed in the Integrated Workshop course. Many other PEB students also attend and give posters or talks.


2106 iPoLS SRN annual meeting was hosted by the Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.


2105 iPoLS SRN annual meeting was hosted by the University of  Maryland in Arlington, VA.


2014 iPoLs SRN annual meeting was hosted by the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Munich, Germany.


2013 PoLS SRN annual meeting was hosted by Princeton University in Princeton, NJ.


2012 PoLS SRN annual meeting at Yale University

The second annual meeting of the PoLS SRN was held at Yale on July 10-13, 2012. As the kickoff even on July 10, it featured a one-day symposium, sponsored by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. The remaining days featured research presentations, and a group outing (see schedule here).

Dr. Jeff Moffit’s (Harvard) tutorial “Microfluidics: Physics and Biology” is available here.

Participants: students and faculty from UCSD/Rice, Princeton, Yale University, UIUC, University of Maryland, Harvard University, Georgia Institute of Technology, iPoLS representatives.

PoLS SRN participants discussing microfluidics following Dr. Jeff Moffitt’s tutorial at the 2012 annual meeting held at Yale U. Prof. Eric Dufresne (Yale U) giving an interactive presentation on how to give a good talk to an interdisciplinary audience.
Two students discussing their research at a poster session at the 2012 PoLS SRN annual meeting. A PoLS SRN participant asking a question during the 2012 Sackler Symposium, which served as the kickoff event for the PoLS SRN annual meeting.