Abstract: The challenge for biology in the 21st century is the need to deal with the incredible complexity of biological systems. One powerful way to think of biology is to view it as an informational science. This view leads to the conclusion that biological information is captured, mined, integrated by biological networks and finally passed off to molecular machines for execution.
I will then focus on our efforts at taking a systems approach to disease—looking at neurodegenerative (prion) disease and a brain tumor (glioblastoma) in mice. These studies have given us fundamental new “systems insights” into disease processes that include a deep understanding of pathophysiology, as well as new approaches to diagnostics and therapy.
Then I will discuss the emerging technologies that will transform biology and medicine over the next 10 years—e.g., next generation DNA sequencing and its applications to human genome and RNA sequencing, targeted mass spectrometry, microfluidic protein chips, new approaches to protein-capture agents, single-cell analyses and the use of induced pluripotential cells to understand development, disease mechanisms and stratify disease.