The field of systems biology arose as a response to the need for new tools for analyzing large scale data, in combination with the growing insight that biology can not be fully understood by simply studying the individual components, but needs to be understood at the systems level. For example, a cell can not be understood by simply studying its proteins, metabolites, etc in a test tube; these need to be understood in the dynamic biological interplay of the living cell. We describe and test this understanding by formulating mathematical models. These models are formulated based on hypotheses regarding how the system works, and is tested and refined by comparing the model predictions to experimental data.
By combining mathematical models, prior knowledge, and experimental data, we unravel biological mechanisms and contribute to the development of new drugs and clinical tools.