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Tuesday, July 11 • 16:00 - 16:25
3163 Systems Biology as Systems Pathology

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This presentation and paper will explore the similarities between the established discipline of Systems Biology and the new suggested discipline of top-down Systems Pathology. It will show that both investigate complex systems, and both are necessarily interdisciplinary. Both recognize some of the same isomorphies (especially self-organization, feedbacks, and networks -- though Systems Biology is less consciously aware of them as isomorphies). Both look for the primary or fundamental causes of dysfunctions (one at the reductionist level; the other at the systems dynamics level). Whereas there are similarities, there are also differences that will be discussed. While systems biology is reductionist dominated, most often elucidating molecular machine and organellar level foci, even these levels may be considered as examples of total systems dynamics such that even systems biology may be considered systems pathology oriented and not just conventional reductionist science. Systems Biology is unaware of this perspective.

The talk and paper will begin with citation of evidence for the rapid recent expansion of the new field of systems biology measurable in terms of funding, institutions, job descriptions, major centers, and initiation of new education and academic programs. Systems Biology will be characterized as very successful and here to stay. The paper will continue with an explication of how useful investigation of dysfunctions have been in getting a start on understanding of complex systems in biology (with examples from the studies of enzymopathies, knock-out genes, and errors in development and how each gave us a handle to pursue to understand better otherwise impenetrable complex physiology). We will suggest that as Systems Biology has amply demonstrated, this is a fruitful strategy for Systems Pathology and even all of GST to pursue in researching complex systems.

The talk will continue with examples of the utility of the systems biology approach to research on key and important total system diseases (thus systems pathologies) as represented in the author’s course lectures on the Systems Biology of Cancer (Bio 302) and the Systems Biology of Aging. (Bio 328). But beyond providing a better understanding of disease states such as those, the systems approach is also useful in understanding the structure and limits-on-structure of all systems at all scales and types thru such new fields as the author’s Systems Allometry and Systems Mimicry (spin-offs of Systems Processes Theory (SPT)), which also may be classified under the title, Systems Biology.

Further examples of overlap will include the use of network theory in both Systems Biology and Systems Pathology to discover “motifs” (unlikely similarities of part:part interactions true of many diverse system network analyses) and of the use of hierarchical structure to gain the advantages of modularity in both Biosystems and all systems. This latter case has especially been useful as an application of systems theory as a guideline for engineering and as a source of errors in engineering as in Systems Pathology. The overall conclusion will be that many aspects of the widely accepted new field of Systems Biology are similar to the yet untested new field of Systems Pathology.

Tuesday July 11, 2017 16:00 - 16:25 CEST
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

Attendees (5)