A Planck Walk

© Edgar Zippel, Berlin / www.edgarzippel.de

A shift in focus - and a couple of robots - have helped researchers at a Max Planck Institute pinpoint the genetics underlying entire systems.

By Stephen Pincock

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For some time, systems biology as a concept garnered less than the full support of the biological community, Lehrach notes. "There are a few people who really understand and push it, but some who are opposed," he says. "But I think it is naïve in the extreme to believe that we can't understand a cell phone without modeling it, but that we can understand cancer without doing the same. Systems biology is an essential next step."


Lehrach is one of four department heads who guide operations at the institute. Between them, these senior investigators oversee 481 group leaders, researchers, students, and administrative staff who work in its headquarters in...

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