The European Science Foundation (ESF) Task Force, comprising of nine experts in the field, has published a series of recommendations build on the ESF Forward Look report Systems Biology: a Grand Challenge for Europe. In their Strategic Guidance and Recommendations [http://www.esf.org/research-areas/medical-sciences/publications.html] they set out a road map to establish a pioneering Systems Biology research programme in Europe. Based on the advice given by the Task Force the next steps will be to start actual discussions among the ESFs 75 Member Organisations, the Commission and other actors in the field, both public and private, on how to go forward.
The vision is that Europe will take the lead in making a blue cell a generic, model blueprint of a cell and then fill out the blueprint with information for a number of important diseases and biotechnological processes.
One prerequisite for this is new, much more quantitative, and biology-specific technology. A massive initiative is needed to develop the kinds of advanced technology that can look at networks in cells, clusters of cells, organs and bodies.
We cannot move forward in Systems Biology in Europe unless we have the technology to back up our vision, says Professor Rudolf Aebersold from the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, and a member of the ESF Task Force. We need new, powerful, user-friendly technologies not only to process and integrate large amounts of data, enhance data sharing and visualise models of biological systems, but also to collect that data in the first place.
Though the ultimate goal is applying Systems Biology to human health, to begin with it is likely that technology will also b
|Contact: Thomas Lau|
European Science Foundation