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Center for Cancer Systems Biology

  • Director: Marc Vidal, PhD

    Marc Vidal, PhD (left), with Michael Cusick, PhD, and David Hill, PhD 

    The Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) explores cancer biology from a systems perspective. Macromolecules such as proteins, RNA, and DNA do not act alone, but interact to form complex networks, the "interactome" network. The strategy followed at the Center is to generate models of the human interactome to answer such questions as how complex cellular systems relate to biology and how perturbations of cellular networks lead to cancer.

    Systems analysis at CCSB encompasses generating libraries of cloned open reading frames (ORFs, the portions of genes that encode proteins), analytical methods to identify protein-protein interactions, computational analyses, and integration of diverse disciplines (biology, medicine, statistics, physics, and engineering) all working together to develop and advance experimental and computational strategies for interactome mapping. Work at the Center maps the human interactome network with systematic protein-interaction assays, aiming to deepen understanding of complex functional interactions and biological processes relevant to cancer. The resources (molecular libraries, data set resources, and reagents) and technology platforms (experimental methods and bioinformatics tools) generated for the human interactome project are shared within and outside Dana-Farber, which allows investigators to use state-of-the-art systems biology in their directed study of particular cancer-related processes.

    The collaborative environment at the Center fosters discovery, leverages advanced technologies, deploys resources across Dana-Farber, and communicates novel science. The Systems Genetics/Center for Cancer Systems Biology Seminar Series, co-sponsored with the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, encourages fruitful exchanges of ideas.