Looking at life in context: computational biology and artificial intelligence break new ground
Earlier this year, EMBL – the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, a collaborator in some of INESC-ID’s research programs, including OLISSIPO – launched its new strategic programme for 2022-2026, Molecules to Ecosystems, calling it “a new era for European molecular biology”, under which EMBL proposes to expand its scope by “looking at life in context”. (The announcement of the new strategic programme was coupled with a new year piece by Edith Heard, the director-general of EMBL, published in Nature, suggesting a more integrative approach to the study of life)
Many of these future and innovative “ways of seeing” are only available via – and due to – computational biology and artificial intelligence, areas in which INESC-ID has active research programmes and expertise. As EMBL elaborates, “Advances in computational power and artificial intelligence […] enable rigorous analysis and creative integration of these [i.e., biological] data. This tremendous technological progress in life sciences can now be coupled with the capacity to gather and analyse data of greater scope, resolution, and quality than ever before.”
A recent paper authored by several OLISSIPO members mirrors EMBL’s strategy of dynamically “looking at life in context”. Totoro: Identifying Active Reactions During the Transient State for Metabolic Perturbations, published in Frontiers in Genetics, offers a novel, open source method to analyse metabolomic data, successfully predicting the dynamics of known active metabolic pathways. The authors reaffirm the need for a wide and integrative view of big biological data: “With the current technologies, it gets more common to have different kinds of data available which creates a need for methods that combine, for instance, metabolomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data.” Research as that developed by OLISSIPO researchers brings us closer to that reality.
Coordinated by Susana Vinga – INESC-ID researcher and member of its Board of Directors, as well as Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico – OLISSIPO is a Twinning project, funded by the European Commission within Horizon 2020, that aims to enhance the competences in Computational Biology at INESC-ID and to create an international pole of excellence in multi-disciplinary science in Portugal. The Olissipo consortium is composed of four research institutions: INESC-ID, EMBL, ETH Zurich and Inria.
INESC Brussels HUB Winter Meeting | JAN 25-26, 2024, in Porto
The INESC Winter Meeting, organized in collaboration with INESC Holding, is scheduled for January 25th and 26th, 2024, and it will be held in the city of Porto.
On January 25th, the primary goal is to bring together individuals from all five INESC institutes, fostering an environment that encourages networking, forging new connections, and collectively engaging in a forward-thinking exercise regarding the future of our research fields and the positioning of the INESC group within the European landscape.
There will be a welcome lunch, followed by an afternoon dedicated to collaboration, openness, and curiosity. The event will have a participatory approach, and will be guided by Dirk Stockmans, a highly experienced facilitator who has worked for the European Commission for the last 30 years.
Furthermore, all INESC researchers are invited to submit proposals for e-posters to be displayed at the Winter Meeting. Deadline for submissions is December 10 and more information is available here.
On January 26th, a senior administration and management committee will be held. Participants will be selected by each institute administration by invitation only.
If you would to take part on the 25th of January, please register here by November 30th.
The INESC Brussels HUB website will soon share more information about the venue and uptaded agenda.