Location & dates Virtual 4 - 7 May 2021
Deadlines Registration closed Abstract submission closed
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EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic

With the onsite programme paused, many of our events are now being offered in virtual formats.


Registration is open as usual for many events, with back-up plans in place to move further courses and conferences online as necessary. Registration fees for any events affected by the COVID-19 disruption are fully refundable.


More information for participants of events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found here.

EMBL is committed to sharing research advances and sustaining scientific interaction throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We are delighted to announce that this conference is going virtual and invite you to join us online.

Symposium Overview

Cell types are the fundamental units of multicellular life, which have diversified during animal evolution. Single-cell genomics/transcriptomics technologies and new insights into the molecular mechanisms specifying cell type identity allow us to explore this process in unprecedented detail. Our second EMBO | EMBL Symposium on the identity and evolution of cell types will re-assemble the growing community of scientists pushing forward the limits of this exciting new field. Based on the very positive feedback on the first symposium, we will keep session topics such as the cell type tree of life, and genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of cell type differentiation in development. We have also identified exciting new areas in our rapidly growing field – such as molecular mechanisms of cell type origination in evolution; the evolutionary assembly of cellular modules; different aspects of neuronal identity; and sensory cell type diversification in vertebrates. For this meeting, we will also provide extended discussion time within and between sessions and organize a final discussion.

Session Topics

  • Molecular mechanisms of cell type origination in evolution
  • Molecular and systems biological mechanisms of cell type differentiation in development
  • Cell type tree of life
  • The evolutionary assembly of cellular modules
  • Neuronal identity: from genes to morphology and connectivity
  • Sensory cell type diversification in vertebrates