ICT For Life Sciences Forum

A personal view of Systems Biology: What it is, and what it should be.

*Presentation Ended* Thursday 15 March 2012
Systems Biology is a term that is much bandied about. While many commentators agree that it holds ‘great promise’ for biomedical science research, there is no commonly accepted definition of what Systems Biology actually is. I will identify several components of what I think Systems Biology should include, but which I think are often overlooked by practitioners, and will illustrate these with examples drawn from our current work at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute.

Current research projects in his group include using mathematical models of heart cells to understand the development of heart disease; developing computational approaches to study the network of genetic interactions underlying breast and skin cancers; and modelling signaling pathways that regulate skin differentiation, and transepithelial fluid secretion in the salivary glands and the lung. The group also contributes to projects involving data analysis for biosensors, and development of computational tools and standards for integrative systems biology.

Edmund Crampin is Associate Professor and Associate Director Postgraduate at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, where heads the Systems Biology Group, and is a member of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. Edmund’s research uses mathematical and computer modeling to investigate regulatory processes and pathways underlying complex human diseases. A feature of thegroup’s research is to include cell and tissue structural information in mechanistic models of the biochemical networks that control cell function. After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Physics from Imperial College London, Edmund completed a DPhil in Applied Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He was subsequently elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Brasenose College Oxford and in 2001 he won a Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to study mathematical models of heart disease. Edmund moved to the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute in 2003 to continue this work and to establish systems biology at the Institute and the Physiome Project.