Tag: computational biology

Criticality in Biochemical Networks

J Royal Society Interface

Researchers from our center, in collaboration with State University of New York, Binghamton University and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência developed a mathematical and computational framework to understand how biochemical networks contribute to the evolvability, robustness, and resilience of biological organisms.

In a paper in the journal Journal of the Royal Society InterfaceLuis Rocha, George J. Klir Professor of Systems Science, and Drs. Manuel Marques-Pita and Santosh Manicka (who earned his Ph.D. in complex networks and systems from the Luddy School), show that a large amount of redundancy exists in how genes, proteins and other biochemical components process signals. This results in much robustness to perturbations, allowing biological systems to exist in a stable or near-critical dynamical regime, despite being composed of thousands of biochemical variables which would ordinarily result in chaotic dynamics.

The measure of effective connectivity developed by Rocha and Marques-Pita captures redundancy in automata networks and is shown in the paper to be highly predictive of dynamical regime of biochemical systems ranging from flower development to breast cancer in humans. The approach thus adds empirical validity to several  well-known hypotheses in theoretical biology: 1) that canalization adds robustness to biological development put forth by C.H. Waddington, 2) that redundancy is essential for evolvability put forth by Michael Conrad, and 3) that biological organisms exist in a near-critical dynamical regime put forth by Stuart Kauffman. The new work further connects the three hypotheses by equating canalization with redundancy, providing a  measure of effective connectivity based on dynamical redundancy, and further showing that this measure very accurately predicts the dynamical regime of biochemical networks.

You can read the article following the links in reference:

Manicka Santosh, Marques-Pita Manuel and Rocha Luis M. [2022]. “Effective connectivity determines the critical dynamics of biochemical continue reading.

CASCI alumnus makes Fast Company’s most creative list

Congratulations to CASCI alumnus Dr. Ahmed Abdeen Hamed who was recognized by FastCompany magazine, among the most creative people in the world, in 2016, for his research publication entitled: Twitter K-H networks in action: Advancing biomedical literature for drug search.Dr. Hamed completed his Computer Science MS degree at Indiana University in May 2005 and joined our Complex Networks & Systems track of the PhD in Informatics in the Fall of 2008. For personal reasons, he finished his PhD at the University of Vermont, but started his research in biomedical text mining with the CASCI group. … continue reading.

Control of Complex Networks

Network science has allowed us to understand the organization of complex systems across disciplines. However, there is a need to understand how to control them; for example, to identify strategies to revert a diseased cell to a healthy state in cancer treatment. Recent work in the field—based on linear control theory—suggests that the controllability of complex systems can be predicted solely from the graph of interactions between variables, without considering their dynamics. Such graph-based approaches have been used, for instance, to suggest that biological systems are harder to control and have appreciably different control profiles than social or technological systems. The methodology has also been increasingly used in many applications from financial to biochemical networks.

In work published today in Nature Scientific Reports, CNetS graduate student Alexander Gates and Professor Luis Rocha demonstrate that such graph-based methods fail to characterize controllability when dynamics are introduced. The study computed the control profiles of large ensembles of multivariate systems as well as existing Systems Biology models of biochemical regulation in various organisms.… continue reading.

CNETS Team Uses Instagram to monitor Drug Interactions and Adverse Reactions

Update: On March 21st, 2016 the paper described below (PMC4720984) was highlighted by Russ Altman from Stanford University in his yearly review as one of 30 important papers of the year in translational bioinformatics.

Using complex networks analysis and social media mining, CNETS researchers from the CASCI team have found that Instagram, a growing social media platform among teens, can be used “to uncover drug-drug interactions (DDI) and adverse drug reactions (ADR).” The work shows that this popular social media service is “a very powerful source of data with great promise in the public-health domain”. The study, “Monitoring Potential Drug Interactions and Reactions via Network Analysis of Instagram User Timelines,” supported by an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health as well as a gift from Persistent Inc., was recently published and presented at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB 2016), in Hawaii. (PubMed, arXiv). The results are based on almost 7.000 user timelines associated with depression drugs which combined have 5+ million posts.… continue reading.

NIH Project to study Drug-Drug Interaction


Prof. Luis Rocha from CNETS at IU Bloomington, Prof. Lang Li from IUPUI Medical School, and Prof. Hagit Shatkay from the University of Delaware have been awarded a four-year, $1.7M grant from NIH/NLM to study the large-scale extraction of drug-Interaction from medical text. Drug-drug interaction (DDI) leads to adverse drug reactions, emergency room visits and hospitalization, thus posing a major challenge to public health. To circumvent risk to patients, and to expedite biomedical research, both clinicians and biologists must have access to all available knowledge about potential DDI, and understand both causes and consequences of such interactions. However, mere identification of interactions does not directly support such understanding, as evidence for DDI varies broadly, from reports of molecular interactions in basic-science journals, to clinical descriptions of adverse-effects in a myriad of medical publications. This project will develop tools that focus directly on large-scale identification and gathering of various types of reliable experimental evidence of DDI from diverse sources. The successful completion of the project will provide clinicians and biologists with substantiated knowledge about drug interactions and with informatics tools to obtain such information on a large-scale, laying the basis for preventing adverse drug reactions and for exploring alternative treatments. … continue reading.