From “The control of flux” to the control of organisms and Systems Biology

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Igor Goryanin
Henrik Kacser Chair in Computational Systems Biology

Lecture Details

5.15pm on Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Lecture Theatre 4, Appleton Tower
Crichton Street, Edinburgh

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, which will be held in the foyer of level 4, Appleton Tower.


Systems biology is an academic field that seeks to integrate biological data as an attempt to understand how biological systems function. By studying the relationships and interactions between various parts of a biological it is hoped that an understandable model of the whole system can be developed. Main principles of systems biology have been laid by Henrik Kacser and colleagues here in The University of Edinburgh. In 1957 he wrote

“The properties of a system are in fact more than (or different from) the sum of the properties of its components, a fact often overlooked in zealous attempts to demonstrate additivity of certain phenomena. It is with these systemic properties that we shall be mainly concerned”,
and in 1963
“An organism is not simply a mixture but a system of interacting molecules. It is therefore to these interactions that we must look for an elucidation of biological behaviour...”
The foundation of the Metabolic Control Analysis (MCA) has been laid in the seminal paper The control of flux by Kacser & Burns later in 1973. During recent years his ideas have not been forgotten, but further developed, and applied to solve practical problems. In this lecture, advances in modern systems biology will be presented, and current challenges will be discussed. In the proposed Edinburgh Centre for Systems Biology we will continue to develop Henrik’s approaches towards understanding the dynamics of biological complexity.

Professor Igor Goryanin - A Short Biography

Igor Goryanin is best known as an author of one of the first software packages for modeling and simulations of cellular networks: DBsolve. He is one of the creators of first Enzymes and Metabolic Pathway databases (EMP, MPW). Igor Goryanin has spent recent years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) working in Bioinformatics and Informatics areas. He was heading Cell simulations and Pathway modeling group. The main goals of his group were application of modeling and informatics techniques to the pharmaceutical research and development and drugs manufacturing.

At GSK, the Pathway Modeling Factory (PMF) software infrastructure has been developed under his supervision. It has been designed for rapid and robust models creation of very large pathways and networks. PMF enables models analysis, hypothesis checking and generation, and planning new biological experiments. He led the development of the PathWay Editor (PWE). The PWE was designed for visual annotation of cdllular, multicellular, tissue and organism level networks. The PWE is being used for disease knowledge reconstruction and predictive modelling.

A software package for economical biocatalytic and fermentation process optimization has been developed recently in his group. This software considers biocatalytic mechanisms in addition to conventional process parameters and allows optimised large-scale production. It helps to reduce the use of biocatalysts in the process and thus to reduce the overall costs. The software has already tested in one of the large-scale processes and has achieved major savings.

The whole cell modelling of microorganism approach developed by Igor Goryanin has been successfully used to improve drug precursors yield in production plants. His group has been involved in other multiple GSK projects, i.e. designing anti-microbial assays and anti-microbial drug targets identification, rational organism design, rational biomarker design and target prioritisation, reconstructing cellular networks for cancers, metabolic and lipid disorders. Before his seven years period in industry Igor Goryanin spent more then twelve years working in the Institute of Biophysics, Russian Academy of Science. He was a visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratories, USA.

Igor Goryanin has got his PhD in 1995 at the same Institute. He was working on the automation of multienzyme systems modelling using databank on enzymes and metabolic pathways. Igor has graduated (MSc) in 1985 as applied mathematician from Computer Science Department, Moscow Engineering Physical Institute (MEPHI), where he was developing numerical methods and algorithms for analysis of stiff ordinary differential equations.

During last years he has established several collaborations between industry and academia, including first International Alliance on Systems Biology of E.coli (IECA), where he is a member of the steering committee. Igor Goryanin has a visiting Professorship in Biochemical Engineering Department, University College London  

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