I seek to understand, at the systems level, how biological networks within cancer cells are fundamentally different from those in normal cells. Using a variety of experimental techniques, I design new platforms for the rational application of personalized medicine and the design of combination cancer therapies.
My research seeks to invent approaches to engineer new biological functions at multiple scales, ranging from atomic details to macromolecular machines to cellular processes. By building new functions through a combination of computational design and experimental engineering, I also hope to learn how molecular design principles shape systems-level properties and, ultimately, organismal fitness.
In the first symposium held by the newly minted UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, researchers described progress in the fields of systems biology, pharmacogenomics, and bioengineering, and how scientists in these fields are working in concert to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics to effectively and safely diagnose and treat disease.
By understanding the complicated systems that make up biology, we will understand more about the individual parts, how they work together, communicate, and mobilize into action, according to Chao Tang, PhD, UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member.
A research collaboration between the University of California (UC) and Peking University will integrate the biological data acquisition strengths of the former with the physical and theoretical strengths of the latter, a move which scientists anticipate will ultimately lead to more effective, safer medications for populations and individuals.
Thinking like engineers has transformed a new wave of UCSF scientists into systems experts who use big computers and big technology to ask the biggest question of all: How does life work? A new field called systems biology looks at how all components of biological systems work together.
Left to right: Andrej Sali, PhD; Christopher Voigt, PhD; Ken Dill, PhD; and Anthony Hunt PhD
Some people see a future populated by billions of mechanical micromachines, robots no bigger than a speck of dust that are programmed to do our bidding. UCSF School of Pharmacy researcher Christopher Voigt, PhD sees a different future. He sees living micromachines that can be engineered into a new kind of pharmaceutical. His micromachines are bacteria.