Meeting Abstract

S6.0  Sunday, Jan. 5 08:15  A New Organismal Systems Biology: How Animals Walk the Tightrope Between Stability and Change PADILLA, DK*; SWALLA, BJ; TSUKIMURA, B; Stony Brook University; University of Washington; California State University Fresno

We will highlight recent efforts to develop a research agenda to address the Organismal Grand Challenge of "How metazoans walk the tightrope between stability and change". Effectively solving this Grand Challenge will require a transformation in the way that organismal animal biologists approach their discipline. After decades of research, we still lack understanding of what characteristics of complex living systems allow them to change in response to either internal or external environments, and what characteristics create inflexibility. To comprehend the dynamics of complex living systems, we must move beyond the traditional approaches of organismal biology, and incorporate methodological tools of other disciplines that also study complex systems, particularly mathematics, engineering, and physics. Not only will we gain a deeper, mechanism-based understanding of how organisms will face future environmental challenges, but in pursuing this research endeavor, we will also reveal nature-inspired solutions to stability and agility of exceedingly complex systems. This symposium highlights the need for, and opportunities created by exchange between engineers, mathematics and organismal biologists. Increased dialog between different fields and collaborations across disciplines will be needed to create the organismal systems biology needed to address this and other Organismal Grand Challenge questions