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Welcome to the Integrative Biology Project

The Integrative Biology project is bringing together an international consortium of leading biomedical and computing researchers to address two of the most important problems in clinical medicine today: understanding what causes heart failure and how cancer tumours develop and grow. Together these diseases account for about 60% of UK deaths.

Model of electrical activity propagation through the 
heart ventricles
Results from the Tulane whole ventricular model showing reentrant activity in the ventricles with transmembrane potential distribution on the anterior and posterior epicardial ventricle surfaces. RV and LV refer to right and left ventricles and arrows show the direction of wave propagation.
We are developing detailed, accurate multi-scale computational models of the heart and of cancer tumours. By exploiting the new Grid infrastructure to run these models on the most powerful supercomputers available for research in the UK today, we are gradually improving our understanding of these two complex systems. This will eventually lead to better control and treatment regimes.

DNA to whole organism model example.
From DNA to whole organism modelling
In the longer term, this research will lead to an improved understanding of biological systems in general. We foresee a future where new drugs will be discovered and tested using computer models such as those which we are developing.

Multi-scale models are the key to understanding the function of complex organs based on their genetic and cellular composition. The picture illustrates the different components and processes in the chain which must be modelled and integrated ranging from genetic information through cells and tissue to the behaviour of whole organs.

The Integrative Biology consortium brings together the original project partners - the Universities of Oxford, Nottingham, UCL, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield and Auckland plus CCLRC, EPSRC and IBM - and new partners who have since joined us including Tulane , Graz and Utrecht Universities, UCSD and UCLA.

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