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"This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
—Chief Seattle, Native American.
perhaps you're interested in doing research, and perhaps you could be interested in 'Quantitative Biology' (Systems Biology, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and Synthetic Biology).
The scientific method used in "Cell and Molecular Biology" isn't enough to understand scientifically Life.
Recently has emerged a new scientific area called "Systems Biology". It consist in the quantitative study of "Biological networks" at the molecular level. (mathematical and computational analysis tightly linked to experiment)
"Molecular Biology" usually study structure and function of each cellular element. "Systems Biology" study the interactions between molecules, so biological networks (gene regulatory networks, metabolic networks, cell signaling networks, protein networks, signal transduction).
"Systems biology" aims to explain how higher level properties of complex biological systems arise from the interactions among their parts.
"Systems Biology" consist in understand Biological Network behavior with concepts derived from Systems Science (design principles or generic laws), not with principles from Biochemistry.
"Systems Biology" is a merger of "Systems and Control Theory" with "Molecular and Cell Biology". This new field requires a fusion of concepts from many disciplines, including biology, computer science, applied mathematics, physics and engineering.
Incursion in Systems Biology research is equally difficult for an engineer and for a biologist.
"Systems Biology" has its roots in Cybernetics theory (of the mathematician Norbert Wiener), in the General Systems Theory (of the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy), and in the Homeostasis c.
"Systems Biology" emerge thanks to availability of quantitative information of biological phenomenon (at the molecular level), and it is thanks to Biosensing (Bioelectronics), to nanotechnology and to new experimental techniques.
"Systems Biology" complement to the traditional reduccionist science (Molecular Biology).
What physics was to the 20th century, biology will be to the 21st, and "Quantitative Biology" will be a vital part of it.
I've created a blog:
It contain articles with an introduction to "Systems Biology", systems biology research groups around the world, institutions where one can study systems biology and journals related to systems biology.
I invite you to share it with people potentially interested in "Molecular Systems Biology", or "Systems Biology of Complex Diseases".
Exist many books related to Systems Biology. But I recommend to you: "An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits" by Uri Alon.
Also I recommend you to read the paper "Can a Biologist fix a Radio?", in which a Biologist criticize the scientific method of "Molecular Biology".
A good introduction to Systems Biology is the paper "Feedback dynamics and cell function: Why Systems Biology is called Systems Biology".
At the moment exist already Undergraduate Programs in "Systems Biology" in Germany, Japan and USA.
Harvard University have created a "Systems Biology Department", and have done the same: Stanford University, Ghent University, University of Toronto, Keio University, Kyoto University, Osaka University, and Kyushu University.
And finally a definition of "Synthetic Biology":
Synthetic biology is the engineering of biology: the synthesis of complex, biologically based (or inspired) systems which display functions that do not exist in nature. This engineering perspective may be applied at all levels of the hierarchy of biological structures – from individual molecules to whole cells, tissues and organisms. In essence, synthetic biology will enable the design of 'biological systems' in a rational and systematic way.
This distinctive new approach promises solutions to some of today's most pressing and difficult problems in environmental protection, human health and energy production. It also provides an alternative perspective from which to consider, analyze and ultimately understand our living world.
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