Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Life by numbers: Systems biology and its approach to researching disease

By Dyani Lewis

Biologist Dr Michael Inouye describes the emerging field of systems biology – how it integrates large amounts of diverse data to take an encompassing approach to the study of life processes, and how it can be applied to the study of disease.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

DYANI LEWIS
I'm Dyani Lewis. Thanks for joining us. Science is very often about chipping away at a problem one component at a time. By piecing together fragments of knowledge on how each component of a system operates in isolation, an understanding of how the entire system works can emerge. But systems biology - an emerging field of research in the life sciences - takes a different approach. It draws together and integrates large amounts of disparate data to take an encompassing approach to the study of life and its myriad processes. Instead of looking at one protein or unpicking a single biochemical pathway, systems biology embraces the complexity of an entire system to find patterns and networks in the data collected and, from these patterns, seeks to explain biological behaviour and function.
Today I'm joined in the Up Close studio by a systems biologist to talk about his field and how he goes about researching complex biological processes such as disease. Dr Michael Inouye is a senior research fellow and head of the Medical Systems Biology Lab within the Departments of Pathology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. Mike is also an honorary senior research...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.