U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Office of Science Researcher's Model is Featured on the Front Cover of the Journal Cell
Published: January 28, 2008
Posted: February 20, 2008

A significant step in the development of the field of systems biology, marking the first time researchers have systematically perturbed and accurately predicted a cell's dynamics at the genome scale (for most of the thousands of components in the cell), has been acknowledged by a cover in the prestigious journal Cell. DOE support of a team of biologists led by Nitin Baliga at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, WA, has enabled development of a model mapping a significant number of the circuits that control the biological activities of a whole free living organism, Halobacterium salinarium NRC-1. This detailed model of the pathways that allow the cell to function was extracted by carefully selected experiments involving genetic and environment perturbations and development of algorithms. The result was a model that was able to predict how over 80 percent of the total genome (several thousand genes) responded to stimuli over time, dynamically rearranging the cell's makeup to meet environmental stresses. It is a valuable step in the ultimate goal of in silico prediction of cell behavior with its obvious potential for biofuels and pharmaceuticals. The study represents an important partnership between biologists and computer scientists that now provides experimental, algorithmic and software infrastructure for others to apply this approach to new organisms.

Contact: Arthur Katz, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4932; Susan Gregurick, SC-23.2, (301) 903-7672
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Modeling
  • Legacy: Medical Applications

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-23.2 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)