Monday, November 13, 2006
Bayman was recently discussing in the bay systems biology and modelling of seemingly simple pathways. How for example we've really only just started getting accurate mathematical modelling of the Lac operon and how it confirms what we previously knew but in a quantitative manner. It begs the question, are we efficiently investigating the "black box" that is the cell? Is the biological approach the right one, or is it better to have an engineering approach. Yuri lazebnick explains the "David paradox" in an old issue of cancer cell, on how a biologist would solve the problem of a defective radio and how this relates with our approach at investigating mollecules such as p53... "[...]any engineer trained in electronics would unambiguously understand a diagram describing the radio or any other electronic device. As a consequence, engineers can discuss the radio using terms that are understood unambiguously by the parties involved. Moreover, the commonality of the language allows engineers to identify familiar patterns or modules (a trigger, an amplifier, etc.) in a diagram of an unfamiliar device. Because the language is quantitative (a description of the radio includes the key parameters of each component, such as the capacity of a capacitor, and not necessarily its color, shape, or size), it is suitable for a quantitative analysis, including modeling."
Posted by Anonymous Coward at 3:08 PM