The Systems Biology of Clinical Organ Transplantation

12:55 The Systems Biology Approach to Clinical Research in Organ Transplantation
Philip F. Halloran, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

The opportunities to understand disease states in organs after transplantation are considerable. The emergence of methods that measure many features of a biopsy creates challenges in terms of study design, data storage, and data analysis. This represents a need to approach research into organ transplant diseases as a system – a systems biology approach. The answer lies in researchers accepting that they can thrive in a systems approach, and that there are resources available to support them. The researcher should consider the diverse team elements required for a systems biology approach: clinical; modeling; pathology (including detailed grading of all features, not just diagnosis); research technologies such as microarrays; and data storage/analysis tools. These elements can be woven into biologic hypotheses and empower the researchers. Recognition of these requirements must be the first stage of planning a molecular research project to define the events in disease states.