Professor of Systems Biology
Fontana Lab website
Models as a way of reasoning about biology
The challenge of systems biology is not only experimental in kind. It also is the challenge of reasoning about facts that are rapidly evolving while remaining highly fragmented across research communities. I see a fundamental role for models as reasoning instruments in biology. Models, not databases as we know them today, will become the main vehicles for the computer-assisted storage, communication, and retrieval of biological knowledge. Computer scientists and I have joined forces with several other researchers to design a computational environment that represents biological knowledge, as it pertains to signaling, in an editable and executable fashion. This instrument will lend itself to the collaborative construction and critique of models.
For more information about what my group does, please visit our lab website.
About Walter: I moved to Harvard Medical School in September 2004, attracted by a vision of systems biology that emphasized evolution and molecular physiology. A theoretician for 16 years, I was transformed by living for a while among molecular biologists and seeing the opportunities that quantitative thinking and technology bring to experimental biology. I started a group with a theoretical and an experimental component.
Photo Credit: Nerissa Escanlar