More on computer modeling in medical biology

Last week I posted about how a group at the Burnham Institute, et al, had completed a full computer model of the metabolism of a bacterium. That probably doesn’t sound earth-shaking, but advances in computer modeing of biological systems at many levels will be a powerful scientific and medical tools.

So today funding for another modeling project was announced by Mt. Sinai Medical School. They’re getting a federal grant to model kidney tissue. The idea is to get greater understanding of some of the cellular changes that are part of kidney diseases and to learn how to generate kidney tissue through nanofabrication.  As their release puts it:

If successful, the research—which ties together several emerging technologies including virtual tissue modeling and nanofabrication—could lead to a more predictable way for researchers to engineer tissue outside the body and, consequently, to screen for new drugs. […]

These computational models, or virtual tissue, will form the basis for designing the device for recreating kidney function. The hope is to learn the rules of tissue organization as the team refines the device through testing the computer models and imaging the flow of cell signals within the reassembled tissue from both mouse and .

Bio-medical scientists have wanted to bring the power of computer modeling to research for a long time. It looks like some really substantial results are close at hand.


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