HepatoSys Competence Network - Systems Biology of Hepatocytes

This web page contains information on the former HepatoSys funding initiative (2004 - 2010) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In April 2010 the funding second period of this projects ran out. Since that time research on Systems Biology of the liver in Germany was continued under the framework of the Virtual Liver Network

Goal

From January 2004 on, the BMBF funded an innovative and interdisciplinary research initiative in Systems Biology to complement activities in the German Federal Government´s Programme "Biotechnology - using and shaping its opportunities". The funding priority HepatoSys focuses on a quantitative understanding of complex and dynamic cellular processes in detoxification, endocytosis, iron regulation and regeneration in mammalian hepatocytes. The aim is both to arrive at a holistic understanding of these life processes and to be able to present and make these processes accessible in silico.

Structure

During the first funding phase, the BMBF-financed network HepatoSys consisted of three interdisciplinary network projects working on specific questions of hepatocyte detoxification, endocytosis as well as regeneration. With the beginning of the second funding period in 2007 the new network project iron regulation started its work. The networks are supported by technology platforms for cell biology and computational modeling, which partly pursue separate projects and perform development tasks in major areas which go beyond the topics of individual collaborations. Important priorities are the development of suitable hepatocyte cell culture systems and the establishment of an overarching data, modeling and simulation platform for the overall collaboration.

Both, the research groups of the individual network projects and the researchers of the platforms were expected to practice a high degree of cooperation and interdisciplinary communication to be able to meet demands of the complex topics dealt with in this interdisciplinary funding priority on the modeling of the human hepatic cell. The partners were supported by an intranet ensuring fast and interactive exchanges of information. Furthermore, standardization and working protocols, SOPs and other documents of general interest and relevance were available to all the partners in the competence network. This made it possible to set up a functional national network of competence on systems biology, which was incorporated into an international context in the medium term.

organigramm

To provide support during the implementation of the research projects and to realize the recommendations of the international steering committee, a project coordinator was appointed at to act as interface between the scientists of the competence network and the steering committee. The project management agency PtJ was charged with managing the funding activity HepatoSys.

The members of the independent steering committee were appointed by the Federal Minister of Education and Research and charged, inter alia, with the task of actively steering the scientific development of the German competence network on Systems Biology. The members were Profs. Hans Westerhoff (chairman), Siegfried Neumann (vice chairman), Roland Eils, Jan Hoek, Uwe Sauer und Marius Ueffing.

Project partners

Detailed information on the work of the networks and platforms can either be found on the sub pages or in the Who's Who brochure:

Cooperation

Systems Biology tries to investigate systems as a whole by connecting knowledge from different scientific disciplines. For the main goal 'In silico simulation of complex life processes in hepatocytes', it was of great importance to establish synergistic collaborations between the scientific working groups considering the same subject. The alongside interactive illustration can be used to introduce the different working groups of former HepatoSys (colored dots) and their collaborations (white arcs).