PSB 2004 Tutorial

PSB 2004

Systems Biology Host/Pathogen and Other 'Community' Interactions

Christian Forst


Systems biology addresses a novel approach to study, analyze and, finally, control biological systems. Unlike traditional research that typically focus on single genes, systems biology, as coined by Leroy Hood, studies complex interaction of all levels of biological information; genes, transcription factor binding sites on genomic DNA, mRNA, proteins, protein complexes, information and biochemical networks. In the light of emerging biological threats, I want to make a step further and expand biological systems to include two organisms, a pathogen and a host (human, animal, plant). The aim of the tutorial is to provide an starting point in the fast moving field of Systems Biology/Host-pathogen interactions. I anticipate that the tutorial will trigger key opportunities for advancements in the identification of system components and their interactions, in the reconstruction of pathways and networks, and, finally, in control of biological systems of host pathogen and community interaction.

The tutorial will provide an experimental motivation, including an introduction into host-pathogen responses, the immune system as well as inter- and intracellular interactions. A background section will give information on network genomics, the construction and analysis of biological networks based on genome/proteome context information. Also in the background section, comparative network genomics and network phylogeny will be introduced. An example section will cover static models on genomic foundations of host-pathogen interactions and their response to mutual stress, as well as dynamic models. The tutorial will conclude in an abstract sytem of community interaction evolution.

Biographical Sketch:

Christian Forst is Technical Staff Member in the Bioscience Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1999 to the present. From 1997 to 1999 he served as research associate in bioinformatics at the Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previous to this position he functioned as group leader in theory of molecular evolutionary dynamics at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Jena, Germany. He is author of about 25 peer reviewed scientific articles which cover a spectrum of research areas such as chaotic behavior in population dynamic problems, generic properties of genotype-phenotype relationships, evolutionary dynamics and phenotypic error thresholds, theory of molecular evolution, evolution in molecular host-pathogen systems, metabolic pathway phylogenies, comparative analysis of operon-pathway relationships, genomic foundation of host-pathogen interactions, and drug-response networks in prokaryotic and mammalian biological networks. He is editorial board member of the International Journal of Cancer Genomics and Proteomics. He is also executive member of the review panel of the Life Sciences:Information Technology Program (LS:IT) of the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program (IUCRP), Univ. of California. Dr. Forst received a distinguished performance scholarship from the University of Vienna, Austria in 1990 and a dissertation award with Magna cum Laude in 1993. He holds a BS in Astronomy, a MS in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry, all from the University of Vienna, Austria. He regularly teaches a bioinformatics and systems biology course at the Los Alamos Summer School.

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