The value of ISBE to society

ISBE infrastructure aims to enable scientists in academia, the health sector and industry to access and exploit the full potential of data-driven computational modelling of complex biological systems with the required reproducibility and validation. It will provide the expertise, tools and resources to address current and future grand challenges in healthcare, agriculture and industrial biotechnology.

Examples are:

Human health and wellbeing

Determining the processes of how a cell decides when to die is crucial to understanding the consequences of when the system goes wrong. Such dysfunction has been implicated in cancer, inflammatory problems, autoimmune diseases and septic shock. The modelling of the human brain, will provide new ways to tackling neural diseases.Deeper understanding of how we get older, can address the health and social issues associated to the ageing process. Systems biology approached at the multiscale level can also provide solutions to protect our environment, through advances in bio-based products research, bioremediation, biofuels, and ecosystem health.


Understanding host-pathogen interactions

Stress factors on an organism do not happen in isolation in the real world. The combinations of stress caused by human hosts on their fungal pathogens can help understand how such stresses affect the virulence of such pathogens.

Human pathogens – impact on healthcare and the economy

      • In 2009, it was estimated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that Antimicrobial Resistance costs the EU about €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and lost productivity each year (DoH & Defra, UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018)
      • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill 25000 people in the EU every year, and cost the economy €1.5 billion.


Crop growth and responses to changing environments

Climate change will bring changing pathogen populations and more extreme environmental conditions making the maintenance of crop yields an increasing challenge. Models of hought and excessive light. Such understanding has important implications for breeding crop varieties that maintain their yield under changing environmental conditions.

Analysing and modelling of leaf and root growth at multiple levels – subcellular, cellular, organ and plant are being integrated to generate a models of crop plant growth and development. The outcome of analysis and modelling of the way that signalling pathways for light, circadian rhythms and cold, respond to temperature changes in plants will help plant breeders to develop crops able to cope with damaging environmental conditions, such as with climate change, and with higher yields.mental conditions.


Agricultural pathogens- impact on crop yield


Agriculture and the economy

    • According to the European Commission, there are 12 million full-time farmers in the EU, managing an average of 15 hectares (compared with 2 million and 180 hectares respectively in the USA). Overall, agriculture and the wider agri-food industry provide 7% of all jobs and generate 6% of EU GDP. (Syngenta: Our Industry 2014)
    • The Agricultural Census 2010 shows that around 25 million people were engaged in agricultural work in the EU-27. (Eurostat: Agriculture, fishery and forestry statistics 2010-2011)
    • Use of water to support agriculture is expected to grow around 11% globally (Syngenta: Our Industry 2014)



Software solutions for integrating life science data identify new genetic and molecular targets to improve bioenergy crops.

Impact of biofuels and biomass approaches

    • Biofuels represent around 5% of global road transport fuels.In Brazil, ethanol from sugar cane produces ~35% of the world’s bioethanol and has replaced ~35% of the gasoline used in light vehicles in the country (Syngenta: Our Industry 2014)
    • The global market will likely grow from 25 billion gallons of biofuels a year in 2010, to 65 billion by 2020. Of the anticipated 65 billion gallons, 10-15 billion are expected to be second-generation biofuels. (OECD [2011], Future Prospects for Industrial Biotechnology, OECD Publishing).
    • According to EU projections, the use of biomass and waste in power generation will more than double until 2030. (European Commission, EU Energy Trends to 2030 (2009 update).