Welcome to the University of Calgary’s Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, IBI.
The IBI conducts interdisciplinary research that seeks to combine burgeoning systems biology with complex systems sciences to better understand living systems.
Through close interaction between theory, simulation and experimentation and between physics, chemistry and biology, we investigate the structure, dynamics and evolution of genetic regulatory networks and their behaviours – the missing link between genotype and phenotype. We use supercomputer power and state of the art functional genomics technologies to expand and deepen our understanding of cells and organisms.
WHY BIOCOMPLEXITY? The accumulation of molecular information in biology afforded by the relentless technological innovation of the past decades in molecular biology, and more recently, in genomics and proteomics, has led to an unquestioned habit in understanding in life sciences: Almost by default we explain a phenomenon by invoking a material cause at a lower level, such as a gene, a protein, a molecular interaction or a regulatory pathway. Systems biology has extended this quest for mechanistic explanation to massively parallel, exhaustive (genome-wide) measurements. It has systematized “molecular stamp collecting” by establishing useful databases, has drawn maps of networks and relationships and it has cast complicated processes into mathematical models. Yet something is missing. The description of molecular pathways, no matter how comprehensive and how quantitative, does not explain what makes the whole more than the sum of its parts and why the creative force of the biosphere, both in development and evolution, appears inevitable. Biocomplexity aspire to fill this gap. By taking a biocomplexity approach the IBI complements current efforts in systems biology. Ultimately, our mission is to improve the health, wellness and quality of life of people around the world.
OUR FOCUS. Within the framework of this ambitious philosophy the IBI has a focused research program that bridges the pursuit of fundamental questions and pragmatic health care oriented research: