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Systems Medicine

With the rise of genomics and the accumulation of large amounts of data, a new systems-based approach to biology has emerged. Researchers are increasingly realising that our bodies cannot be subdivided down into independent components, but rather, genes, proteins, cells and organs interact with each other and the environment in complex ways. Systems Medicine aims to shed new light on these interactions by integrating data from different disciplines into biological models with the power of computer science, mathematics or engineering for the holistic understanding of health and disease.

Recent years have seen the rapid emergence of Systems Medicine as a new discipline. In the biomedical sciences this trend is very apparent as research moves from a reductionist approach to a "Systems Medicine" paradigm that attempts to understand biology and pathophysiology in an integrative manner.

However, despite major technological advances, there are still obstacles that separate Systems Medicine from medical applications. Systems medicine, a newly emerging area aims at bridging this gap by identifying key challenges for translation of Systems Medicine to medicine and to clinic.

An important aspect will be the input of computational models to relevant clinical questions and to the discovery of effective biomarkers for disease progression and efficacy of treatment. These models and approaches will also address the multi-scale and complex nature of biological disease systems, at the molecular and cellular level, as well as at the level of tissues, organs and physiology.

Between 2004-2010, the European Commission's Framework Programmes FP6 /FP7 have funded more than 60 research projects in the area of Systems Medicine and its applications to medical questions with a total amount of around 400million.

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1. International Conference of Systems Biology (ICSB 2011) - Workshop: "EU Collaborative research in Systems Biology: Success stories & funding opportunities".
2. US-EC Workshop on Infrastructure Needs of Systems Biology
3. From Systems Biology to Systems Medicine