Centre for Systems Biology

C4SYS – website

Hosting institution: Institute of Microbiology, CAS

Partner institutions:

The C4SYS research infrastructure concentrates the knowledge potential in the field of systems biology in the Czech Republic and links the diverse systems biology research in the Czech Republic to the pan-European research infrastructure for systems biology ISBE (Infrastructure for Systems Biology – Europe). Its portfolio includes a spectrum of approaches to build and exploit predictive maps and models of complex biological systems ranging from molecular to whole organism level, the design of experimental approaches for the efficient collection of data that are fit for modeling, and the stewardship of relevant data, models and maps. This approach of hierarchical study of systems is a unique one and is expected to bring breakthrough discoveries in biological, biochemical and biomedical research. Services provided by the C4SYS infrastructure include consulting, support through contract activities, development of standards, teaching and training specialists and providing web services, software tools and databases instrumental in carrying out cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. Besides providing the core services expected from each of the ISBE national nodes, the C4SYS research infrastructure also contributes with its complementary expertise on selected organisms (Algae, cyanobacteria, ticks, yeast; with the possibility of extending to other model organisms such as laboratory mice, plant models, Drosophila). The C4SYS research infrastructure is involved in national and international research infrastructure networks and collaborations with top-ranked research institutions worldwide (e.g. University of Cambridge, Harvard University, ETH Zurich, KTH Stockholm, Imperial College London, CNB Madrid, University of Oxford, Nova Southeastern University, Larkin Health Science Institute, Medical University Graz and University of Geneva). In order to maximize the exploitation of C4SYS’s large synergy potential, cooperation agreements with other research infrastructures were signed at the national level, namely with CIISB, Czech-BioImaging and ELIXIR-CZ. After being less than two years in operation, the C4SYS research infrastructure provides services to both Czech and foreign users, helping to advance systems biology in the Czech Republic.

Future development

Systems biology is one of the fastest-developing key components in biological and biomedical research. The C4SYS research infrastructure is going to create the essential conditions for advancing systems biology in the Czech Republic and a key platform for the country’s research community involved in life sciences. Without having this research infrastructure and the necessary support, the Czech Republic will lose its tight contact with the world’s leading countries and the chance to catch up with them. Even in its present form, the C4SYS research infrastructure manages to offer services to systems biology users, and with the new planned equipment all offered services should match the gold standard in the field. The C4SYS research infrastructure users come from many different areas of biology, biochemistry, microbiology and medicine, as well as from applied areas, such as industrial, agricultural and environmental biotechnology and nanotechnology. These fundamental technological trends belong to the national priorities of the Czech Republic.

Socio-economic impact

Systems biology is considered the key scientific driver towards applicable systems medicine.
To understand complicated illnesses such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and oncological diseases in detail, to diagnose them early and possibly treat them, scientists need to cognize complex systems, necessarily by applying system biology approaches in this biomedical field. Without such comprehension, new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, or their development cannot and will not succeed. Facilitating this integrated approach to the study of biological processes will transform our knowledge of the functioning of biological systems at many scales. The exploitation of this knowledge will have immense impacts on applications in bio-medicine, bio-technological industry, agriculture and the environmental protection and will contribute to the development of the economy, products with high added value, highly qualified job positions and the improvement of health care in the Czech Republic.