Prof. Jorge Goncalves (JG − coordinator) leads the Systems Control group at LCSB. The group aims to understand the source of diseases and find new therapies and cures. This is accomplished by building mathematical models and tools that pinpoint the exact location of diseases. The predictive power of these models comes from mimicking the most important feature of biological systems: the fact that they are dynamic in nature, as molecular numbers change over time in response to internal or external stimulus. When pushed from their comfort zone, systems respond by activating a number of elements that try to restore their initial state. This transient behaviour is essential to an understanding of how components in the system interact. Hence, time-series data offer a window into complex biochemical systems. Theoretically, the group is developing tools to model and analyse time-series data. Examples are tools to infer causal networks between measurements, to find differential expressed systems, and systematic engineering control tools for synthetic biology design. The group collaborates with experimental biologists to generate mathematical models that can subsequently be tested experimentally. Examples include the understanding the molecular details of circadian rhythms to learn about the sources of Parkinson’s Disease.
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