Living systems rely on vast networks of molecular interactions to grow, develop and respond to the environment. The size of these networks can be large, as organisms can have many thousands of genes and each gene can be modified and expressed in the cell in multiple forms. To further complicate matters, these interactions span time scales that range from millisecond (molecular interactions) to hours (cell cycle) to millennia (evolution). At SCDA, we are developing new methods to overcome these challenges and learn the networks that run life’s program. Key aims include developing new methods to annotate genes (characterize the parts list for biology) and building new methods that learn biological networks, and eventually dynamic models (put the parts together). These network models will help us to predict the functional effect of genetic variation, design interventions and therapies, and understand how living systems respond to changes in their environment.
Richard Bonneau is group leader for Systems Biology.