Understanding the interactions between the elementary components (cells, organelles, proteins, genes, metabolites) in complex systems
Genes, RNA, proteins and metabolites are the basic components of complex biological systems. The study of these systems attempts to integrate different levels of information to propose functional models for entire systems. The goal is therefore to understand the interaction between the various parts of the system (cells, organites, protein, gene and metabolite networks, etc.) that enable communication within a cell or between the cells in an organism.
Research in the biology of integrated systems tests potential crossover concepts and mechanisms in living systems, with interaction between physicists, chemists, mathematicians and IT experts. It begins with the study of the genes and proteins of an organism, then shifts from a basic organizational level to a more complex spatial or temporal level of organization. The biological systems studied are those of micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast, amoeba), plants (thale cress) and animals (fruit flies, mice…). Research topics concern the integration of regulation networks for gene expression, defense mechanisms and cellular response to stress, and cellular compartmentalization and signaling.
Research into fundamental biological issues will be closely connected to technological development in the years to come:
- In bioinformatics, the large scale production of experimental data requires the development of tools to integrate data and derive meaning at the biological level,
- In biotechnology, the study of signaling and interactions between cells or intercellular compartments will contribute to progress in health care and agronomics,
- At the interface between biology and technology, proteins that self-assemble or naturally structure themselves will be studied for their capacity to supply materials or mechanisms for use in nano- and micro-technologies.