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Publication Date

Manuscript Submission Deadline

Special Issue

Call for Papers

Molecular communication engineering has emerged as an interdisciplinary field that integrates communication theory, signal processing, chemistry, and biophysics to describe the physical propagation of molecular signals and the information that they carry. While earlier studies in this field tended to focus on the design of synthetic systems that implement communication using molecules, a growing segment of research has sought to apply molecular communication approaches to practical, living cellular systems. There is untapped potential to 1) understand the role of molecule propagation in cellular signal processing; and 2) introduce engineering tools to control molecular signals and manipulate behavior.

Theoretical communication modeling tends to favor simplified abstractions to describe systems, e.g., a homogeneous environment with a single transmitter and a single receiver. Simple models are very important as a starting point for analysis, but their applicability in the context of complex multi-cellular environments is severely limited. Cell communities such as bacteria biofilms, organ-on-chip organoids, and malignant tumors contain many tens of thousands of cells in sophisticated structures that alter how molecules can propagate and be detected.

The aim of this Special Issue is to raise a spotlight on the diversity of complex environments and the tools that are needed to describe molecular signaling and communication in these systems. The complexity can stem from the scale of the communicating entities, the nature of the propagation environment, or both. We have a particular interest in biophysical models that have not yet been subject to extensive molecular communication analysis, but contributions using any models that are appropriate for “large” cellular systems are welcome. To this end, we invite submissions on one or more topics including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Signal propagation models designed for intercellular environments such as organoids, tissues, organs, tumors, and biofilms
  • Signal propagation models designed for intracellular environments such as cytoplasm, nuclei, and organelles
  • Signal propagation models designed for crowded environments (biological or non-biological) such as porous media
  • Unconventional diffusion modeling, including anisotropic diffusion, anomalous diffusion (superdiffusion or subdiffusion), fractional Brownian motion, and multi-phase diffusion
  • Biophysical flow modelling, including turbulent and laminar flow
  • Multi-cellular chemical reaction networks
  • Design of synthetic or natural communication systems in multi-cellular environments
  • Communication system analysis in multi-cellular environments
  • Decentralized cellular decision-making and computation
  • Experimental methods to apply or detect signals in multi-cellular environments, either in aggregate or at single-cell resolution

Submissions can include both original research and survey articles on the topics above. Original research articles should include one or more of theoretical analysis, experimentation, or implementation of simulations.

Submission Guidelines

Prospective authors should submit their manuscripts following the IEEE TMBMC guidelines. Initial submissions to this special issue need not be in a specific format, as long as the scientific and technical ideas are conveyed clearly. However, the final formatting of accepted papers is expected to conform to the standards of the journal and of the IEEE. Authors should submit their manuscript through Manuscript Central, indicating their intent to target this Special Issue, “Seeing Through the Crowd: Molecular Communication in Crowded and Multi-Cellular Environments,” in their cover letter.

To avoid mandatory overlength page charges, authors are advised to limit their final manuscript to no more than 10 double-column pages or split their manuscript into 2 parts (each of no more than 10 pages).

Important Dates

Manuscript Submission Deadline: 31 December 2023 (Extended Deadline)
First Notification: 28 February 2024
Acceptance Notification: 31 March 2024
Final Manuscript Due: 30 April 2024
Publication Date: June 2024

Guest Editors

Adam Noel (Lead Guest Editor)
University of Warwick, UK

Andrew Eckford
York University, Canada

Radek Erban
University of Oxford, UK

Matteo Icardi
University of Nottingham, UK

Gregory Reeves
Texas A&M University, USA