Systems biology reverse engineering the cell

About the book

Our challenge is reverse engineering the measurements to decipher these networks, and progress is currently halted at the red cross in Figure 1B. The same questions can be asked of any drug, or indeed any physiological input. We just need drugs that work.

Maybe we can use genetics, with its awesome simplifying power, to cut straight from molecular perturbation to phenotypic response, ignoring the complexity in between. But that attitude dodges our fundamental responsibility as cell biologists.


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Molecular perturbations ripple outwards through the cell, perturbing an interconnected network of signaling pathways and genes. One of those ripples might unexpectedly amplify into a tsunami that dominates the drug response. Responses often differ between disease models or species for unclear reasons, which makes drug discovery difficult and failure-prone.

Reverse engineering: the architecture of biological networks | BioTechniques

I see this as another challenge in reverse engineering the collective action of macromolecules. Determinants of polar versus nematic organization in networks of dynamic microtubules and mitotic motors. Cell 18, — March 11, Newsletter Feature , Science News.

Tim Mitchison. Recommended Articles.

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Reverse engineering the cell

Students will be asked to bring their own laptops, or to team up with a colleague that brings a laptop. Each of the techniques discussed in the lectures will be followed up by a practical implementation of the method in Python, either using a provided code or developing a custom-made code, depending on the difficulty of the method. Real datasets will be used whenever possible. Prerequisites Students who have successfully completed first-year mathematics courses in algebra and calculus, such as those offered in BSc degrees in engineering, physics, mathematics and the life sciences, should be able to follow the course.

Stumpf, D.

Biologists reverse engineer the microtubules that make up cell walls and spindles

Balding, M. Girolami, eds. Klipp, W. Liebermeister, C.

Wierling, A. Kowald, R.

Acknowledgements