The last ten years have witnessed an unprecedented revolution in biology. The availability of complete and annotated genome sequences for many species and the increasing affordability of high-throughput approaches for the global monitoring of macromolecules in cells are providing the basis for the mechanistic understanding of living tissues, both in their physiology and in the determinants of their diseased state. This understanding is starting to allow a rationale reengineering of regulatory networks underlying organismal metabolism, a prediction of the onset and progression of diseases, and a systematic exploration for new and effective therapeutic principles.
The pace at which these goals will be pursued, and their degree of success, depend primarily on the ability of life science researchers to foster a radically new way to carry out the investigation of biological systems. This new way should be largely integrative, strongly relying on a combination of different expertises, and strongly independent from the domain knowledge in which the expertises have been developed.
The Department of Cellular, Computational and Integrative Biology (CIBIO) at the University of Trento will pursue the task of creating a suitable environment for merging classical cellular and molecular biology approaches with the new powerful tools of systems and synthetic biology, and with the contribution of chemistry, physics, informatics, mathematics, and engineering in an integrative view of basic biological processes and of their derangement in disease.