Systems Biology Ireland, University College Dublin, Ireland

Description of organizationsystemsbiologyireland

Systems Biology Ireland focuses on elucidating the fundamental principles of the design and function of biological signal transduction networks with the aim to design new therapeutic approaches to diseases based on a systems level, mechanistic understanding of cellular regulatory networks. The current application areas of work are cancer, improvement of mesenchymal stem cells for therapy and inflammation. To address these issues Systems Biology Ireland uses a combination of mathematical and computational modelling, cell biology, transcriptomics and proteomics as well as advanced imaging. SBI also works closely with industry partners across several sectors that include IT and computing (HP), pharmaceutical industry (Servier, Astra Zeneca), biotechnology (ARK Therapeutics, Protagen), and medical diagnostics (Siemens).


Previous experience

Walter Kolch has extensive experience in the coordination of large interdisciplinary projects including EU projects. From 2005-09 he was the Scientific Director of RASOR, a ca. €20 Mi joint programme between 4 Scottish Universities for the development of innovative proteomics technologies with an output of >120 papers. He was continuously involved in EU programmes since FP5, where he coordinated the MAPK collaborative project. Currently, he is coordinating two FP7 large-scale integration projects ASSET and PRIMES.


Profile of staff members

Walter Kolch, FRSE, is the Director of Systems Biology Ireland and Director of the Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research, which is the biggest life science institute in Ireland with ca. 400 researchers. Walter has an international reputation in the fields of signal transduction research, cancer biology, proteomics and systems biology. Trained as MD he has wide ranging work experience including as Department Head in pharmaceutical industry, research institutes and academia.

Boris Kholodenko is the Co-Director of Systems Biology Ireland. He has pioneered the application of systems biology approaches to signal transduction pathways and is a world leading expert in the dynamic modelling of biological networks.



Systems Biology Ireland



Five recent publications relevant to the project

1) T. R. Xu, V. Vyshemirsky, A. Gormand, A. von Kriegsheim, M. Girolami, G. S. Baillie, D. Ketley, A. J. Dunlop, G. Milligan, M. D. Houslay, W. Kolch, Inferring signaling pathway topologies from multiple perturbation measurements of specific biochemical species. Sci Signal 3, ra20 (2010).


2) O. E. Sturm, R. Orton, J. Grindlay, M. Birtwistle, V. Vyshemirsky, D. Gilbert, M. Calder, A. Pitt, B. Kholodenko, W. Kolch, The mammalian MAPK/ERK pathway exhibits properties of a negative feedback amplifier. Sci Signal 3, ra90 (2010).


3) A. von Kriegsheim, D. Baiocchi, M. Birtwistle, D. Sumpton, W. Bienvenut, N. Morrice, K. Yamada, A. Lamond, G. Kalna, R. Orton, D. Gilbert, W. Kolch, Cell fate decisions are specified by the dynamic ERK interactome. Nat Cell Biol 11, 1458-64 (2009).


4) T. Nakakuki, MR. Birtwistle, Y. Saeki, N. Yumoto, K. Ide, T. Nagashima, L. Brusch, BA. Ogunnaike, M. Okada-Hatakeyama, BN. Kholodenko, Ligand-specific c-Fos expression emerges from the spatiotemporal control of ErbB network dynamics. Cell 141: 884-96 (2010) .


5) D. Matallanas, D. Romano, F. Al-Mulla, E. O'Neill, W. Al-Ali, P. Crespo, B. Doyle, C. Nixon, O. Sansom, M. Drosten, M. Barbacid, W. Kolch, Mutant K-Ras activation of the proapoptotic MST2 pathway is antagonized by wildtype K-Ras. Mol Cell 44:893-906 (2011).