When Biology and Information Science unite

Once upon a time, Biology and the Information Sciences were two different worlds. with different students, departments and career patterns. Now there’s every reason to expect that they are coming together. It makes sense. Information scientists are the people whose skills run factories, supply chains and international markets. When you think about it, a cell is like a factory, whose components and functions (mainly proteins) have to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time for it to function. But how?

Now a team at the University of Sevilla, in co-operation with Swiss and Japanese workers, think they have the answer to the logistical mechanism that lets cells recognise the right molecules, and put them into the right place just in time. Led by Manuel Muñiz they have discovered that it is lipid molecules which do the identification, recognising and placing. Read it for yourself at the link below, but English-language readers be warned- you are going to need your translator app.

For us there were several learning points and questions:

1 Every scientific advance builds on something that went before, and the researchers acknowledge their debt to the Nobel Prize work of Rothman, Schekman and Südhof. To paraphrase Newton, “everyone stands on the shoulders of giants.”

2 The best science clearly grows from multi-national teams. So how do you build on this? Is it a) attract them into bigger and bigger Universities? Or B) work hard on fast cheap communication systems and language translator software that lets, for example, a German team talk with a Uruguayan one?

3 The idea of a controlled understanding of cellular processes offers real hope in the science of cancer research. We are not snake oil salesmen offering false hope-but watch this space.

El Amazon de la vida | Ciencia | EL PAÍS (elpais.com)

#cell #informationscience #protein #lipid #logistics

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