Program Framework

System Dynamics of Biological Function

The Global Centre of Excellence program (GCOE) is the continuation of the previous "Dynamics of Biological Systems" COE program awarded to the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences at Osaka University. The major focus of the GCOE is to develop a research and education system combining the basic life sciences, medical sciences, physics, chemistry, informatics, and engineering to promote and develop an interdisciplinary environment leading to large impact discoveries. Research groups are united by a fundamental interest in how elementary biomolecules and biosystems dynamically organize to function as unique living organisms. The GCOE aspires to be the world standard for cutting edge technology in real-time imaging, measurement, and analysis and a paradigm for interdisciplinary education. Therefore, novel techniques will be needed to explore complex biological functions at the cellular and organism level.
Bio-molecules can be thought of as natural nano-devices, far more efficient than anything artificially made. Consequently, an additional enterprise will be taking the information gathered from these biological studies to develop nano-devices that will be innately more flexible and energy efficient than any artificial device to date.
Overall, the objective of the GCOE is to groom exceptional, interdisciplinary young science leaders from around the world who regularly contribute high impact discoveries.

Examples of Interdisciplinary Research

1) Imagining high-order biological processes

Modern imaging techniques including X-ray diffraction, electron cryo-microscopy and optical nano-photometry will be combined to study molecular and cellular dynamics. Imaging will be further enhanced by advancing high-magnetic field MRI/MRS equipment and developing new nano-probes.
Examples of dynamic systems include the energy transduction mechanism in molecular motors and transporter; regulatory systems controlling molecular and cellular networks involved in cell growth, differentiation, and death; higher-order organism regulatory mechanisms such as embryonic development and immunity; and brain functions like perception, cognition, memory, and learning.

2) Integrated approaches to modeling bio-information networks

The amount of data acquired in these various genomic, proteomic, and structural studies demand new, robust analysis techniques to be developed. Such algorithms and methods will be applicable to an assortment of dynamical bio-systems including signal transduction, molecular transport, energy conversion, and other high-order information processes.
The expectation is that modeling nano-scopic biological phenomena will offer tremendous insight at the macroscopic level.

3) Development of technologies to regulate and manipulate complex biological networks at the cellular and organism level

Our multi-disciplinary approach is expected to offer great potential for clinical applications like cellular system diagnosis, anti-aging treatment and regenerative medicine.
It is also anticipated that the discoveries through our methods will lead to the design of soft-nano devices designed in principle with the versatile and efficient capabilities innate in biosystems.

Exploration of Biological Functions