The Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) was founded to research genes, networks, and the interaction of all systems in an organism by Dr. Leroy Hood, an immunologist and technologist, Dr. Alan Aderem, an immunologist, and Dr. Ruedi Aebersold, a protein chemist. Systems biology came about as a result of the completion of the Human Genome Project when a new understanding of how DNA, proteins, genes, and all other central dogma interact with each other. ISB is located in downtown Seattle and has a great view of the Space Needle as well as all of downtown; there are many great things about this location such as the Pike Place Market which sets up stands right across the street, the hot dog stand every Wednesday, and the convenient bus stops surrounding the building. To better understand all aspects of biology, the institute employs from over 300 different fields of science and cross disciplinary skills ranging from chemists and geneticists to engineers and astronomers, any questions will likely have an answer somewhere in the building! Networks are specifically important to the research done at ISB and to help us understand, see, and organize these networks, ISB has invented various programs and technology so that all the interaction between systems can be organized into a full network.
This summer we worked in the Baliga Lab group which studies the response of simple prokaryotic model organisms, specifically Halobacteria Salinarium, to changes in environment. By measuring and collecting data from qualities like growth rate and gene expression, the scientists in the Baliga Lab group can calculate and predict how the organism will respond to environmental changes. To help with the organizing, analyzing and storing of data, the Baliga group develops software that saves time from the tedious computational tasks. For example, some software includes but is not limited to Gaggle, Firegoose, and cMonkey which are used to help predict what the results of future experiments would be.
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