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Department of Biochemistry

Flexible Nets: An artist's impression

The Oliver Group have published a new paper in the journal Systems Biology & Applications.


The exploitation of systems biology information to design novel microbes for biotechnological processes, and to control those processes in real time on an industrial scale, requires computational modelling. However, biological systems are difficult to model and control, both due to their highly responsive properties and because the kinds of data required for modelling them are frequently unavailable or uncertain. In a paper published in Systems Biology & Applications, Jorge Julvéz, Duygu Dikicioglu, and Steve Oliver of Cambridge University's Systems Biology Centre introduce a radically new approach to the modelling and control of biological systems, which they call Flexible Nets (FN). This approach is able to deal with both the uncertainty and unavailability of data. They demonstrate the efficacy of FNs by modelling and controlling the uptake and utilisation of sugar by yeast and also to evaluate different treatment regimes for Wilson disease (a heritable defect in copper utilisation). These examples illustrate that the Flexible Nets modelling platform can be usefully exploited in both biotechnology and medicine.


An artist's impression.

Credit: Shutterstock/Yevhenii Borshosh.


Steve Oliver

Publication date

12 January 2018