Computational and Systems Biology at MIT
Peter Sorger, Director, Computational and Systems Biology Initiative (CSBi),MIT ;
Description: Once the young field of systems biology really picks up steam, there will be reams of difficult new data to sort through, warns Peter Sorger. As scientists move away from the heavily structured information of gene-protein sequencing to analyzing the dizzyingly complex links among systems in living organisms, they'll need better tools. Bigger and faster computers alone will not make sense of these intricate networks. "The barrier is going to be crossed by more creativity, not by more CPUs," Sorger says. "As you go from a single molecule to the full genomic complement, as you go to ever more components, you know less and less about each component." Sorger calls for new methods in modeling the dense connections within a cell or a piece of tissue. While researchers might wish for the logical layout of circuit boards, what they actually find may more resemble an engineer's nightmare: a huge interconnected mass of wires. Sorger hopes that interdisciplinary efforts at MIT and beyond will help link experimentation to varied but systematic modeling approaches.
About the Speaker(s): n addition to his position at CSBi, Peter Sorger also holds associate appointments at the MIT Center for Cancer Research and the Broad Institute. Sorger received his A.B. in Molecular Biology from Harvard in 1984, and his Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge University, in 1993. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Harold Varmus and Andrew Murray at the University of California, San Francisco. Sorger's lab -- 19 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists -- is attempting to identify the molecular lesions that cause genomic instability, to determine their frequency in normal and cancerous cells and to develop improved means to kill selectively diseased tissues
Host(s): School of Science, Computational and Systems Biology
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