Faculty Articles

Systems Biology of Complex Symptom Profiles: Capturing Interactivity across Behavior, Brain and Immune Regulation

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Systems Biomedicine




As our thinking about the basic principles of biology and medicine continue to evolve, the importance of context and regulatory interaction is becoming increasingly obvious. Biochemical and physiological components do not exist in isolation but instead are part of a tightly integrated network of interacting elements that ensure robustness and support the emergence of complex behavior. This integration permeates all levels of biology from gene regulation, to immune cell signaling, to coordinated patterns of neuronal activity and the resulting psychosocial interaction. Systems biology is an emerging branch of science that sits as a translational catalyst at the interface of the life and computational sciences. While there is no universally accepted definition of systems biology, we attempt to provide an overview of some the basic unifying concepts and current efforts in the field as they apply to illnesses where brain and subsequent behavior are a chief component, for example autism, schizophrenia, depression, and others. Methods in this field currently constitute a broad mosaic that stretches across multiple scales of biology and physiological compartments. While this work by no means constitutes an exhaustive list of all these methods, this work highlights the principal sub-disciplines presently driving the field as well as future directions of progress.



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