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Predicting biological functions at different spatial scales: From molecules to ecosystems

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Abstract: Biological systems range from small biomolecules via cellular processes and species to entire ecosystems; each of these scales comes with their own biological research discipline. Using computational approaches, we integrate heterogenous data to uncover functional aspects of diverse biological systems and we try to bridge between spacial scales and research disciplines. I will illustrate our approach with examples from small-molecule-protein network analysis (e.g. how to use human phenotypic side effects to predict drug targets), from the systemic analysis of a small bacterium (e.g. how to bridge from biochemical complex purifications to an atomic model of a cell) and from environmental genomics (e.g. how to predict ecological parameters from metagenomics samples using satellite data).

Biography: Dr Peer Bork, PhD, is senior group leader and joint head of the Structural and Computational Biology unit at EMBL , a European research organization with headquarters in Heidelberg. He also holds an appointment at the Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. Dr Bork received his PhD in Biochemistry (1990) and his habilitation in Theoretical Biophysics (1995). He works in various areas of computational biology and systems analysis with focus on function prediction, comparative analysis and data integration. He published ca 400 research articles in international, peer-reviewed journals, among them more than 40 in Nature, Science or Cell. According to ISI (analyzing the last 10 years), Dr. Bork is currently the most cited European researcher in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals including Science and PloS Biology, and functions as senior editor of the journal Molecular Systems Biology. Dr Bork co-founded four biotech companies, two of them went public. More than 25 of his former associates hold now professorships or other group leader positions in prominent places all over the world. For his achievements in nurturing and stimulating young scientists he received the Nature award for creative mentoring.

Peer is the winner of the 2009 Royal Society and Académie des sciences Microsoft Award.

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