Systems Biology illustration

Systems Biology

In the old days of molecular biology, scientists tended to focus in on genes one at a time. Those genes were assembled into linear pathways, each of which took several years of work to put together. Then genomics came along and changed everything. Suddenly, labs could generate not just linear paths, but complete parts lists. Systems biology was the natural next step and, in systems biology, the network is king.

This global approach to biology requires close collaborations between experimentalists and theorists – those who are generating enormous genomic datasets in the laboratory and those with the quantitative skills to distill that complexity down and devise ways to represent it meaningfully – within a broader culture of science that is supportive of such interdisciplinary exchange.

The growth of systems biology at Duke has been driven by the creation of the NIH-funded Duke Center for Systems Biology (CSB) in 2007. The CSB was established to characterize and understand the dynamics of biological networks, including both the dynamics of network states and network structures.

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