Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Biology has turned into a quantitative, information-driven science. Like physics in the first half of the twentieth century, biology now generates very challenging questions and masses of data that drive the development of theory and technology. There are numerous applications of biological research results in medicine and healthcare, biotechnology, and environmental sciences. Thus, there is an urgent need for highly educated researchers who are familiar with molecular and cellular biology and who possess at the same time a rich repertoire of mathematical concepts and methods, understanding of information theory and informatics as well as physics and chemistry. While these fields of knowledge are traditionally taught separately, systems biology requires researchers who can combine such skills. Our Research Training Group for Computational Systems Biology (CSB) is embedded in the Berlin research environment with healthcare and clinical research, biotechnology and basic biological research, as well as many strong theoretical groups (e.g. the mathematical research center Matheon). In this renewal proposal we refined the very successful research program of the first funding period, for example we apply theoretical methods that have been developed during the last period to specific biological problems. We slightly adjusted the focus of the research program, by including more projects that combine theoretical and experimental work, in particular by integrating early-stage researchers. The overarching theme is to understand general regulatory principles in biological systems. Our research topics will be grouped into four pillars: (a) reverse engineering of biological networks, (b) understanding cellular variability, (c) unraveling adaptation mechanisms in biological networks, and (d) understanding regulation mechanisms mediated by RNA molecules and their interactions. The qualification concepts of CSB comprise (i) inspiring and challenging research projects for the early-stage scientists embedded in the research program of CSB, (ii) individual supervision and mentoring, (iii) advanced education in concepts and methods of computational systems biology through lectures and practical courses as well as soft skills training, and (iv) early involvement in the research community. We support gender equality of the members of this graduate school with various structural as well as individual measures.
Project coordinator: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Edda Klipp