Concept | About | Mission | Research & Partnerships | Summary
The Center for the Study of Biological Complexity combines the expertise of prominent scientists from multiple disciplines to study biological systems. Participating scientists build on the nationally and internationally recognized research capabilities at VCU and associated institutions and focus their collective efforts in areas that reflect, complement, and synergize these acclaimed research foci.
Goal of the Center – The goal of the Center is to globally elucidate and understand the functional roles of molecular interactions and biological processes that vary both temporally and spatially in cells, tissues, organs, and organisms.
To achieve this goal, initial research is focused on the identification of all macromolecules that comprise the pathways and cascades of interactions that drive cellular processes. These data are used to develop large-scale mathematical and high performance computational models that incorporate these experimental data components and interactions. Of particular relevance is our appreciation of the concept that these biological processes are complex; that is through the synergy of their parts, emergent properties appear. Emergent properties arise as a consequence of the synergistic interaction of a multitude of different fundamental cellular components; i.e., genes, transcripts, proteins or other biological molecules. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Emergent properties cannot be predicted from the values of the individual units and the study of the properties is a new exciting paradigm of the biological scientist. Two new areas of study include: 1) the assessment of time-dependant information flow through biological systems in both normal and pathological states; 2) The reduction of the mass of detailed experimental and now theoretical data into a set of interacting theoretical models that can effectively describe these complex biological processes.
Virginia Commonwealth University
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