Advances in computing power and information storage have played a major role in the emergence of the “-omics” era of science. These advances have enabled scientists to break new ground in the realms of genome assembly, analysis, alignment, computational evolutionary biology, protein structural alignment, interaction network analyses, small RNA species identification and characterization, and many other areas in genomics and proteomics.
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Cellular and Systems Biology=
Systems biology seeks to integrate different levels of information to understand how biological systems function at multiple scales, with the goal of developing an understandable model of a whole system. This is accomplished by studying the relationships and interactions between various parts of the particular system of interest, which could include cell signaling networks, metabolic pathways, organelles, individual and groups of cells, and microphysiological systems.
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Molecular and Structural Biology=
Studying the architecture, shape, and dynamics of biological macromolecules is paramount to understanding the basic mechanisms that drive the essential processes of all life. Macromolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids carry out most of the functions of a cell, and are able to perform these functions by adopting ensembles of structures under native state conditions. Structural biology is concerned with the driving forces and interactions that determine the three-dimensional shapes and dynamics of biomolecules. Moreover, by applying the fundamental principles of the physical sciences, we are beginning to establish sequence-structure-dynamics-function relationships that enable deeper levels of discoveries, and summon the possibility of de novo structural and functional predictions at the proteome level.
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Pharmacology and Drug Discovery=
Computational and theoretical approaches are revolutionizing Pharmacology and Drug Discovery. Predicting, modeling, and simulating potential therapeutic agents and their interactions with target molecules is a powerful new first step in the drug discovery process. This in silico approach streamlines the often laborious, expensive, and slow process of identifying and testing lead compounds for use as treatments. Combining these advances with high-throughput cellular- and systems-level pharmacological and poly-pharmacological approaches is profoundly impacting medical science.
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