Toward Systems Biology

May 30 - 31, June 1, 2011


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The Master Equation, and other Concepts from Physics, for the Modeling of Biological Networks

One of the main tasks of systems biology is to model large genetic and biochemical networks that are at work within cells and tissue. I will review some basic concepts and techniques from statistical physics useful to describe the dynamics of such systems. Several levels of description (abstractions) are used and I will discuss the relationship between them, and the limitations of the mass-action law/differential approach. With these techniques huge model reductions are achieved, but models of biological networks generally remain high-dimensional. This is due to the diversity of molecular types and to the specificity of the interactions between molecules (proteins, DNA, RNA). Additional reduction can be obtained when the dynamics is structured by several well separated time scales.

√Čric Fanchon, TIMC