UCSD awarded $15.4 million for systems biology research


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded $15.4 million to UCSD to establish a center for the study of systems biology, a relatively new branch of science that maps interactions between regulatory molecules in order to understand how complex biological systems work.

The UCSD Center for Systems Biology will focus on interactions involved in cells’ responses to stress, said director Alexander Hoffmann, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Division of Physical Sciences.

Researchers at the new center will analyze interactions among all of the genes and proteins within a cell in response to potentially harmful changes in the environment, then test the functions of specific genetic “circuits” involved in the response by re-creating them in isolation using synthesized genes.

Hoffmann, whose research focuses on signaling networks involved in inflammation, immunity and stress, will share leadership of the center with two co-directors, both trailblazers in their respective fields, to form a unique team of national leaders in this emerging field. They are Trey Ideker, chief of genetics at UCSD School of Medicine, member of UCSD’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and professor of medicine and bioengineering; and Jeff Hasty, director of the BioCircuits Institute and professor of biology and bioengineering.

The new program builds on other major campus initiatives in systems biology, including the BioCircuits Institute, which will house two of the core facilities for the center, and the interdisciplinary program in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Hoffmann said.

SOURCE: Press Release