Computational and Systems Biology at MIT

author: Peter Sorger
published: Feb. 4, 2013,   recorded: January 2004,   views: 2584

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Once the young field of systems biology really picks up steam, there will be reams of difficult new data to sort through, warns Peter Sorger. As scientists move away from the heavily structured information of gene-protein sequencing to analyzing the dizzyingly complex links among systems in living organisms, they’ll need better tools. Bigger and faster computers alone will not make sense of these intricate networks. “The barrier is going to be crossed by more creativity, not by more CPUs,” Sorger says. “As you go from a single molecule to the full genomic complement, as you go to ever more components, you know less and less about each component.” Sorger calls for new methods in modeling the dense connections within a cell or a piece of tissue. While researchers might wish for the logical layout of circuit boards, what they actually find may more resemble an engineer’s nightmare: a huge interconnected mass of wires. Sorger hopes that interdisciplinary efforts at MIT and beyond will help link experimentation to varied but systematic modeling approaches.

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