Systems biology is rapidly becoming a widely used scientific approach to understand the extremely complex temporal and spatial dynamics of complex biological systems. It brings together information on the interactions between components of these systems (molecules, cells, tissues) in mathematical models to generate insight into the functioning and dynamic behaviour of cells, organs and organisms. To further advance systems biology research, we need well-defined biological systems that are placed in the proper context. Through the development of methods and databases that integrate high-throughput genomics data and domain knowledge, data-driven systems bioinformatics is essential to provide these definitions and contexts. Systems bioinformatics applied results from systems biology to further refine the system, while systems biology needs systems bioinformatics results to ensure validity and completeness of its models.
This sub-programme encompasses the development of methods, databases and expertise that are a prerequisite for systems biology and that provide detailed descriptions of biological systems including their relationships to observed phenotypes. Particular focus is put on methods and databases for:
- identification and reconstruction of biological networks form integrated data sets
- system level comparison of (model) organisms
- information management to describe biological systems, and
- more accurate identification of putative drug targets.
Programme leaders: Perry Moerland, Academic Medical Centre (Amsterdam, NL) and Lodewijk Wessels, Delft University of Technology / Netherlands Cancer Institute