Symposium O. Dichotomies in Systems Biology

Chairs: Joris van Poucke, Centre for Critical Philosophy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, and Veli-Pekka Parkkinen, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Paper presentations and round table

Since the advent of Systems Biology at the turn of the century, a plethora of approaches, opinions, definitions, etc., on its meaning and significance have emerged. Notwithstanding this multitude, there are some clear lines to be drawn between an empirical, local approach that is close to previous molecular research and a more idealistic, global approach that has more affinities with some typical systems approaches. Various proposals, such as the “research cycle” by Kitano, were made in order to establish a fruitful working methodology hoping that both traditions can meet each other “in the middle”.

In addition to this debate, there is the dichotomy between structure and function, which is of equally importance to Systems Biology. Because of new high-throughput technologies, that produced huge amounts of structural data, molecular biologists were forced to turn to global approaches in order to make sense of the data. By doing this, however, they lost the biological meaning and relevance of certain local processes and are stuck with the global, structural interpretations of the data.

The challenge, so will be discussed, is to think of the appropriate relationship between the global and the local level, the idealistic systems approach and the empirical biological approach, between structure and function The question is how they can be related with each other without falling into a reduction to one or the other level.


Session 1: Paper Presentations (Chairs: V.-P.P. and J.v.P.)

  • Introduction
  • Inese Polaka, Arkady Borisov: Robust Dimensionality reduction in bioinformatics data
  • Tudor Baetu: The Integration of Mathematical Modeling in Molecular Biology
  • András London, Gábor Simkó, Ágoston Mihalik, Kristóf Kubina, Marcell Stippinger, Shijun Wang, Peter Csermely: Changes of exploitation and exploration with network position and during crisis
  • Fridolin Gross: The Sum of the Parts
Session 2: Paper Presentations and round table  (Chairs: V.-P.P. and J.v.P.)
  • Madara Gasparovica, Ludmila Aleksejeva: Rule weight use in bioinformatics data classification
  • Sophia Efstathiou, Annamaria Carusi, Martin Kuiper, Astrid Lægrid, Rune Nydal: Research Systems for Systems Biology
  • Round table discussion with the participants moderated by the chairs. Topics will include: Research Strategies in Systems Biology, challenges in bioinformatics, Role of Mathematical Modelling, Integration and Perspectives, heuristics in Systems Biology (teleological/mechanical), networks