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Systems Biology Project



The Systems Biology Project develops new technologies for molecular measurements of biological activity and associated primary data analysis as well as qualitative systems informatics. Its objective is to establish a fundamental understanding of systems biology and its opportunities through biologically focused collaborations that test solutions made of Agilent integrated biology technologies and research prototypes (instrumentation, protocols and informatics).

Systems Biology aims to understand biology by examining the structure and dynamics of cellular function as a system rather than a reductionist focus on individual, isolated genes, proteins or other parts of a cell or organism. Critical properties of biological organisms arise only at the systems level and dynamically over time. Systems Biology is increasingly possible due to recent advances in science and technology at molecular and cellular levels, and to computational advances in visualization, integration, modeling and simulation. This level of understanding will result in improved effectiveness in pharmaceutical drug development, molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine.


The Agilent Labs Systems Biology Project works with external scientific collaborators, jointly exploring their biological questions at the same time that we develop and field test technologies for Agilent. We bring our expertise in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics together with our collaborators’ focused efforts to jointly and iteratively study complex biological processes to gain greater insight. We further develop tools for primary data analysis and systems informatics. These enable the exploration and validation of these insights and facilitate the formulation of hypotheses and iterative experimentation. In this process, we are able to demonstrate the real-world utility of Agilent bioanalytical solutions while discovering gaps or further applications for subsequent new market opportunities.

Additionally, we are collaborating with the Cytoscape Consortium in establishing and extending Cytoscape as a standard for visualizing and analyzing biological data in the context of biological network relationships.

Using Labs' systems-informatics prototypes, Labs builds qualitative biologial models based on all the experimental data, scientific knowledge from published papers and curated biological network databases. These models put the experimental data into a meaningful biological context, enabling the scientists to gain greater insight and create new hypotheses and experiments to explore and validate that insight.

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Agilent Labs' systems-informatics prototypes are based around the ALFA Architecture. Agilent Labs has developed a suite of integrated, interactive software tools, based upon the ALFA architecture, for information extraction and representation from diverse biological data sources. Labs has currently prototyped the ALFA object model and a set of interactive software tools for searching, filtering, and extracting information from scientific text and visualizing and modeling the results as biological networks.


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External Website: Cytoscape