Headquartered in the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, and with facilities that reach across the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, IGSB is an engine for discovery that utilizes the latest approaches in genome analysis, high throughput screening, and biological computation. Founded in 2006, IGSB has grown to nine core members with over 50 students and staff, as well as over fifty participating faculty Fellows who are making basic discoveries in the biological sciences. Topics pursued by IGSB investigators are very diverse. A sampling includes: the genetic mechanisms of cancer, the annotation of the human genome, the molecular networks that control development, the role of microbes in the planet’s carbon cycle, mining clinical records to identify disease interactions, mapping signaling networks in human cells, identification of lead molecules for a dozen different diseases, and many other complex biological problems that require systems-wide and genomic information to decode.
Most projects undertaken by IGSB investigators and their collaborators are aimed at turning genomics and systems biology discoveries into methods that allow the prediction of complex systems’ behaviors, properties, and active processes. For example, the identification of genes involved in cancer can help predict patient outcomes; the assembly of genomic networks can predict which molecules are the best drug targets; and the ability to predict the behavior of molecular complexes can help to design new therapies. Massive amounts of data are produced and mined during the discovery process. Scientists develop and utilize the latest data mining and analytical approaches to distill discoveries into massive amounts of components. Their interactions are Iteratively modeled as computational representations to help determine if molecular activities and related emergent phenomena, such as robustness, agree with experimental data. If there is concurrence, these studies confirm capture of nonequilibirum dynamics and foster further investigations by computer stimulation to generate new testable predictions of living systems. One aim of this work is to develop more effective therapeutic strategies to treat complex human disease.
IGSB strives to improve human health and welfare. With predictive approaches in hand, investigators collaborate with a wide range of clinical researchers, engineers, chemists, computer and social scientists to translate discoveries into useful tools. Discoveries by IGSB scientists have led to new diagnostic markers for cancer cells, computational approaches for predictive modeling of disease, and biotechnology to follow up on drug leads. Because translational research and development can be a long and painstaking process, faculty are committed to providing high quality discoveries that feed into the innovation pipeline to deliver more predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory medicine for everyone.