Vondriska Lab

Cells are complex things. To understand them, scientists have sought to reduce them to their component parts. The extensive knowledge we have about how cells work is a testament to the success of this approach. A major challenge we now face in biology is understanding why the cell as a whole—that is, the system—does not behave like the sum of all its parts. Rather, it behaves like something strangely more complex. The task we face is studying this complexity without breaking it down...

...at least without breaking it down completely. Systems biology combines traditionally non-biased techniques like proteomics and genomics to reap a global assessment of cellular conditions, while employing all the classical reductionist techniques to contextualize these global data. The hallmark of systems biology, however, is the interpretation phase: in addition to a conventional report of the data, systems biology uses theoretical and computational approaches to reveal the emergent properties of the system not obvious from any of the data in isolation. This emergence may hold the key to a better understanding of cellular complexity. The Vondriska lab at UCLA takes a systems approach to study chromatin structure. Please see the research section to learn more about ongoing work