Systems Biology and P4 Medicine

The Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) held their annual Systems Biology and P4 Medicine symposium last week. The yearly meeting provides a setting for some of the world’s most influential researchers in the fields of systems biology and personalized medicine to take part in a dialogue regarding current research/discoveries and their potential impact on human health.

2011 Systems Biology and P4 Medicine symposium

If you’re not familiar with P4 medicine, it’s a term coined by ISB co-founder and president Leroy Hood. P4 medicine is short for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine. The premise of P4 medicine is that the medicine of the future will be able to examine the unique biology of an individual, assess their probability of developing various diseases and then design appropriate, individualized treatments, even before the onset of a disease.

Overall, I thought it was a good conference with a number of excellent speakers. I can confidently say I feel very “caught up” with next-gen and third-gen sequencing technologies. The conference was held in ISB’s new global headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood (the old Rosetta building). The only thing I found surprising with the new ISB facility is that they are running their own microarray and sequencing labs: the Covance Genomics Laboratory (CGL) occupies the 2nd floor of the ISB building and provides industry-leading genomics services, supporting technologies from Affymetrix, Agilent and Illumina (including a Hiseq 2000 for both transcriptome (RNAseq) and whole genome sequencing). Everyone in the biopharma space is moving to a more cost-effective model of outsourcing genomics and bioinformatics; I’m surprised the ISB hasn’t done the same.

Sandra Porter (Twitter: @digitalbio), Todd Smith (Twitter: @finchtalk), Vangelis Simeonidis (Twitter: @vangos) and I all live-tweeted the event.

If you’re interested, I’ve posted a summary for each day of the conference over at Biomarker Commons:

ISB Systems Biology and P4 Medicine Symposium, Day 1

ISB Systems Biology and P4 Medicine Symposium, Day 2

Walter Jessen is a digital strategist, writer, web developer and data scientist. You can typically find him behind the screen something with an internet connection.

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