Modelling infrastructure and expertise

Mathematical modelling has a proven capability of (i) connecting a comprehensive amount of empirical data into a functional whole, (ii) enforcing more explicit formulations of various hypotheses, (iii) increasing the prediction space of hypotheses, (iv) initiating and canalising experimental or empirical work by pointing out key questions and the type of data needed, (v) ensuring that models and ’ways of thinking’ are consistent with fundamental principles of physics, chemistry, and biology, and (vi) functioning as highly efficient intellectual meeting places for various disciplines.

Modelling comes in many types, ranging from single-molecule stochastic modelling to organ level physiological modelling, and addressing some or all of the multiple dimensions of space, time, chemistry and the cellular control hierarchy. Resources enabling extensive use of multiscale approaches as well as a wide array of modelling formalisms across biological research have thus to be major features of a research infrastructure for systems biology. Extensive use of these resources will demand closure of existing communication gaps and a much more intense interplay between modelling and experimentation.

One of the most efficient mechanisms for achieving this is to build a pan-European infrastructure for modelling services that can be accessed by all European researchers in biology and biomedicine. Such a structure linking the theoretical and experimental communities on a massive scale would most likely cause a transformation of European biological research.
The aim of this WP is to provide the scientific and organisational foundation for a rapid and highly coordinated pan-European implementation of an extensive modelling service for academia and industry across all major disciplinary fields of biology through:

  • The provision of showcases documenting the importance of modelling
  • The identification of key resources for a pan-European modelling service
  • Obtaining a pan-European consensus on how to organise a modelling service
Work Package Leaders Stig Omholt UMB
Project Officer (contact) Jon Olav Vik UMB
Partners Thomas Hoefer DKFZ
Hans Westerhoff VUA
Vitor Martins dos Santos WU-ATV
Nicolas le Novere EMBL-EBI
Carole Goble UNIMAN