Biological networks: does structure define function?

10 May 2013

Ilya Nemenman
Departments of Physics and of Biology
Emory University


A growing direction in all branches of modern biology is reconstruction of interaction networks from functional data. The nodes of such networks can be nucleotides, genes, proteins, neurons, brain regions, whole organisms in a population, or other elements that act collectively to produce complex biological functions. How accurate can these reconstructions be? How accurate should they be? In this talk, I will review a series of examples from cellular biology, where relations between the function and the structure are not trivial, and multiple structures can implement the same function, and vice versa. I will argue that interesting universal behaviors can emerge when the cellular networks grow large.

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