Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology can be regarded as two complementary approaches to deal with the complexity of biological systems on a molecular level. Systems Biology analyzes cellular systems in an iterative cycle of experiment and modeling in order to unravel the function of complex biochemical networks in vivo. The design of informative experiments and the high-throughput generation of “omics” data play a central role in this cycle.
Synthetic Biology, in contrast, bases on Richard Feynman’s insight “What I cannot create, I do not understand". It takes a rigorously constructive approach to re-engineer biological networks and to design novel biological parts and circuits with non-natural function. The newest methods of gene synthesis and molecular design serve as enabling technologies. Obviously, both disciplines – systems analysis and design – ideally complement each other and, not surprisingly, are connected by a multitude of methodological crosslinks.
An annual workshop series, organized by the special interest group “Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology” of DECHEMA will start in 2017 to discuss novel methodological developments in both fields and their crosslinks. An interdisciplinary audience of biologists and engineers, experimentalists and modelers, academic and industrial participants is invited to find synergies, foster collaborations and to strengthen Europe's research and industry. The applications in biotechnology are at the core of the discussion, but a wider scope will also be considered.
Both the challenges for research and the options for common activities shall be discussed.