Systems biology analysis of dynamic cellular pathways

Many diseases, including cancers and autoimmune disorders, arise from malfunctions of complex cellular processes. These processes regulate such things as the cell’s ability to grow, change cell type, and even die. Complex biomolecular networks, consisting of interacting genes and proteins, create the sophisticated information processing circuits within cells that control these biomolecular events. Inherited genetic defects, genetic mutations and some environmental cues can alter these networks to create abnormal cellular functioning leading to disease. Medicines treat and cure disease by controlling malfunctioning biomolecular networks. This requires a deep understanding of how cellular networks function and why malfunctioning networks fail. James Taylor’s research focuses on cellular signaling, the mechanism for processing external information that is the basis for a cell’s ability to sense the environment and communicate with other cells. He is studying how information signals flow through, and are processed by, signaling networks. The research is being conducted with baker’s yeast, a single cell organism that is commonly used for research involving fundamental cellular processes. Using computational, engineering and advanced experimental methods, Taylor is exploring how these networks create normal cell functionality and how changes in these networks lead to disease. By contributing to our knowledge of cellular signaling in yeast cells, this research will shed light on malfunctions of cellular processes in humans.