NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The University of California, Irvine, has landed a $14.5 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to support the Center for Complex Biological Sciences, a research and education center focused on systems biology studies, UCI said yesterday.
The university plans to use the funds, which will be doled out over five years, to support a team of 20 scientists who will use multidisciplinary research approaches to study human biology.
"Focusing on the design principles of large-scale systems is really a cultural change in the way scientists view and conduct biological and biomedical research," said the center's director, Arthur Lander.
Lander, who also is chair of UCI's Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, said systems biology asks "why things are constructed the way they are, as opposed to simply how they work."
UCI said it will focus its resources on spatial dynamics, which is the study of how biological systems change over time as well as over space.
They will look into how, for example, the heart produces particular cells in "precise locations to create chambers and valves."
The researchers are expected to lean heavily on UCI's "considerable strength in computation, applied mathematics, and optical biology, in which microscopes, lasers and fluorescence are used to interrogate cells and tissues," the school said.