Understanding Biological Systems: Mission Impossible?

What is systems biology? How does it differ from biomedical studies of the building blocks of human life, such as the human genome? And why do we need it? Part of the answer to the last question lies in what any five-year-old proud owner of a Lego set will tell you: having the blocks doesn’t mean you can build a train, at least without help.

Scientists increasingly turn to computer models for help with their bricks. But can those models be relied on? If so, will computer simulations eventually replace experiments on living beings that still form part of the medical approval process? And when will we have an all-inclusive model of a patient?

Questions such as these are often raised in the context of post-genomic research into biological systems. Dr. Kohl will present a personal and—as he admits—likely biased view on the “Systems Biology Challenge.” He will illustrate this with examples from his own research into heart function, and he will finish with a praise of failure. So—what could possibly go wrong?