In the last decades, the advances in data gathering technologies, from high-throughput sequencing to “omics” analyses, has changed the approach to biology. From an engineering point of view, biological research is a “reverse-engineering problem”, where scientists try to unravel the mechanisms that allow and support life in living organisms. Traditionally, biology was approached using a bottom-up approach, where each individual actor (molecules, cells, organs) was individually studied, with the hope of later understanding the functioning of the whole biological system by “assembling” the functionalities of its individual components. Unfortunately, the data gathered in the last decades demonstrated that this is not possible because biological systems are complex systems. Mathematics tells us that to understand a complex system we must understand the relations between the parts. The system as a whole determines how the parts behave. Doing otherwise would be like trying to understand how a flock of birds move by individually studying each bird (Fig. 9.1). In this chapter we discuss how Systems biology is, in our view, the most promising methodological approach to study biological systems, and how an “engineering mind” is necessary to understand, coordinate, and exploit the challenging mix of competences required to tackle their complexity.

Engineering Minds for Biologists / Benso, Alfredo; Di Carlo, Stefano; Politano, Gianfranco - In: Your Passport to a Career in Bioinformatics / Suravajhala P. N.. - STAMPA. - Singapore : Springer, 2021. - ISBN 978-981-15-9543-1. - pp. 79-90 [10.1007/978-981-15-9544-8_9]

Engineering Minds for Biologists

Benso, Alfredo;Di Carlo, Stefano;Politano, Gianfranco
2021

Abstract

In the last decades, the advances in data gathering technologies, from high-throughput sequencing to “omics” analyses, has changed the approach to biology. From an engineering point of view, biological research is a “reverse-engineering problem”, where scientists try to unravel the mechanisms that allow and support life in living organisms. Traditionally, biology was approached using a bottom-up approach, where each individual actor (molecules, cells, organs) was individually studied, with the hope of later understanding the functioning of the whole biological system by “assembling” the functionalities of its individual components. Unfortunately, the data gathered in the last decades demonstrated that this is not possible because biological systems are complex systems. Mathematics tells us that to understand a complex system we must understand the relations between the parts. The system as a whole determines how the parts behave. Doing otherwise would be like trying to understand how a flock of birds move by individually studying each bird (Fig. 9.1). In this chapter we discuss how Systems biology is, in our view, the most promising methodological approach to study biological systems, and how an “engineering mind” is necessary to understand, coordinate, and exploit the challenging mix of competences required to tackle their complexity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11583/2924097