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From building blocks to systems: where do we go next?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr James Kirkbride.

All living systems orchestrate their response to external conditions, grow and give rise to their offspring using essentially the same set of basic elements like DNA , RNA and Protein. Indeed, most of the studies in pre-genomic era have seen biological systems as parts of the whole cell and have been greatly successful in characterizing the underlying mechanisms for a great number of these parts-list. However, an important notion that is emerging in post-genomic biology is that cellular components do not work in isolation and hence can be visualized as a dense and complex network of interactions between different molecules like genes, proteins, DNA and metabolites in the cell without isolating any subset. This has led to the application of network theory to a wide range of biological problems from understanding cellular dynamics to diseases. In this short talk, I will first present some basic concepts of molecular biology and the paradigm shifts that have occurred in their understanding with the availability of genomic sequences and high-throughput technologies. In the later part, I will introduce the notion of networks and systems in biology—bringing up the concept of systems biology and discuss future avenues in this promising field.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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