Whats the difference between contemporary biological research and systems biology?
I use the metaphor of a car. You can take it apart and look at the pieces. Perhaps you find something round and then discover it’s a CD player. That’s how contemporary biology works. You look at one component of a cell at a time. In the systems approach, you look at the whole machine. You study the movement of the crank and the wheels, and you learn it’s completely unrelated to the CD player. In the body, you look at all the genes, when they’re expressed, and how that correlates with reactions in all the different parts of the body. Q: What’s most challenging about the systems approach? A: You need to work in teams. That’s not easy for most scientists. Individual scientists view themselves as artists. They want to make some brilliant discovery and be celebrated. The idea of working with 200 other people is very unsatisfying. And different scientists don’t speak a common language. Q: How is the biotech industry working to overcome that barrier? A: At Amgen we work in teams of different