About Systems Biology
Systems biology aims to understand through computational modeling how biological functions arise from the interactions between the (especially molecular) components of living systems. It examines what makes the whole different from the sum of its parts. Systems biology is used throughout life sciences. For example, in biomedicine, systems biology models are used to decipher the properties of diseases and to develop new drugs. In agricultural sciences, it is used to develop new plant varieties with better yields in the ever-changing environment, while in biotechnology it is used to design new biologically based factories for the production of valuable biomolecules. As our understanding of biology increases, the systems biology cycle of modeling and experimentation will become the main tool of knowledge generation within the life sciences.
Systems biology in European research infrastructure ELIXIR and Slovenian node ELIXIR-SI
If we want systems biology to deliver on its promise to explain the most complex biological processes, we need to continuously improve the infrastructure on which systems biology is based. It is true that we need better computational models and more and better data. However, the data and model integration inherent in systems biology requires that we have high quality model, data, and metadata standards, ontologies that allow unambiguous description of the three for data sharing and integration, and excelent computational software and hardware to run the models. Models are needed to design new experiments, experiments are needed to validate the models, and standards are needed so that everything can be analyzed together. Finally, we need a capacity building strategy for training systems biologists across the world.
The aim of the systems biology community in ELIXIR is to improve the systems biology infrastructure through activities in all the above mentioned fields. For this purpose we have established Slovenian community of systems biology ELIXIR-SI-SB within the Slovenian node ELIXIR-SI.