Fundamental challenges in biology drive technology, which drives computation/mathematics tools, which lead to new hypotheses, new concepts and ‘rules’ of biology.

The Center for Systems Biology is one of the National Centers for Systems Biology funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The Center, located at the ISB in Seattle, Washington, is composed of three integrated research projects unified by the question: How do cells transition from state A to state B?

The reality of biological systems is that there is a dynamic interplay between molecular networks that leads to complex phenotypes. Transitions between states are also mediated by molecular networks. Although gene regulatory networks, signaling networks, or metabolic networks tend to be studied one network at a time, a systems view of biology demands that we measure and model the dynamic interplay among the hierarchy of molecular networks to make predictions. In Project 1, yeast and archaea responding to environmental stimuli are used to develop tools and approaches for network integration and phenotype prediction.  In Project 3, cardiomyocytes and stem cells are being used to develop approaches for studying single cell dynamics and to critically address the contributions of quantized single cell states in the differentiation process. Finally, when cells assemble into organs, or multicellular assemblies, cells adopt specialized roles to support the assembly. In Project 2, yeast colony formation is being used to understand and model multicellular assembly processes.