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Understanding the logic of living systems requires knowledge of the mechanisms involved at the levels at which functionality is expressed. This information resides neither in the genome, nor even in the individual proteins that genes code for. No functionality is expressed at these levels. It emerges as the result of interactions between many proteins relating to each other in multiple cascades and in interaction with the cellular environment. There is therefore no alternative to copying nature and computing these interactions to determine the logic of healthy and diseased states. The rapid growth in biological databases, models of cells, tissues and organs and the development of powerful computing hardware and algorithms have made it possible to explore functionality in a quantitative manner all the way from the level of genes to the physiological function of whole organs and regulatory systems. I use models of the heart to demonstrate that we can now go all the way from individual genetic information (on mutations, for example) to exploring the consequences at a whole-organ level.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Soc Trans

Publication Date





539 - 542


Coronary Circulation, Genetics, Genome, Heart, Humans, Models, Anatomic, Models, Biological, Myocardium, Proteome, Systems Biology