Systems Biology

Head of Division - Dr Jim Smith

Systems Biology involves the analysis of the function of an organism in terms of networks of genes, proteins and biochemical reactions. The Division of Systems Biology applies this approach to the study of early embryonic development and embryonic stem cells, attempting to understand how events occurring within and between cells direct those cells down different developmental pathways and cause them to undergo changes in shape and organisation and to differentiate into particular cell types.

Work in the Division makes use of approaches including experimental embryology, cell biology, molecular biology and real-time imaging and we also use high-throughput sequencing techniques including RNA-Seq (for profiling RNA populations) and ChIP-Seq (for identifying regions of the genome that bind particular transcription factors). We use mathematical and bioinformatic approaches to integrate our data and create a systems level understanding of the problems we address. In doing so we use ES cells as well as amphibian, fish and mouse embryos, in an effort to understand how well conserved are the networks we identify.

Top of page

© MRC National Institute for Medical Research
The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA