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The Inner Workings of Life
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    The Inner Workings of Life
    • Online ISBN: 9781316576618
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Book description

Living systems are dynamic and extremely complex and their behaviour is often hard to predict by studying their individual parts. Systems biology promises to reveal and analyse these highly connected, regulated and adaptable systems, using mathematical modelling and computational analysis. This new systems approach is already having a broad impact on biological research and has potentially far-reaching implications for our understanding of life. Written in an informal and non-technical style, this book provides an accessible introduction to systems biology. Self-contained vignettes each convey a key theme and are intended to enlighten, provoke and interest readers of different academic disciplines, but also to offer new insight to those working in the field. Using a minimum amount of jargon and no mathematics, Voit manages to convey complex ideas and give the reader a genuine sense of the excitement that systems biology brings with it, as well as the current challenges and opportunities.


‘Popular science books have enabled the public to gain an appreciation for advances in a variety of esoteric disciplines ranging from chaos theory to evolutionary biology. But we lack a ‘fun read’ for the emerging field of systems biology, which is bringing together computer scientists, physicists and biologists to figure out the complex inner workings of living cells. Eberhard O. Voit has filled that gap with his new book. Voit provides the reader with an insider's tour of systems biology, providing us [with] a sense of how this exciting field will change our lives in the coming years. Impress and challenge your book club with this new offering.’

James J. Collins - Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Massachusetts

‘This delightful book provides a very readable overview of the emerging field of systems biology. The author, an expert in the field, describes fundamental concepts and tools in systems biology in a conversational style that makes the material very accessible to non-experts and a joy to read. The combination of interesting conceptual information, humor, history, and anecdotes makes this book hard to put down. And no need to worry about the technical mathematics underlying much of systems biology; there is not a single equation in the book! So if you are interested in learning something about negative feedback loops, adaptation, small regulatory RNAs, -omics research, chaos, microarrays, data mining, genome-wide association studies, or a host of other concepts and tools without diving into the details, this is the book for you.’

Richard Bertram - Florida State University

‘Now that systems biology has become an established research field, it is overdue to present it to the educated lay person. Eberhard Voit, a well-established scientist in the field, has accepted the challenge to provide a textbook without a single mathematical formula. The result is a superb ride through various topics in systems biology in form of a collection of small stand-alone vignettes: a reading enjoyment for everyone.’

Andreas Kremling - Technische Universität München

‘This is an intriguing storytelling book about life written by a mastermind of systems biology. Anyone interested in the essential mechanism of living systems would greatly enjoy reading it. Dr Voit has successfully done all the ‘complicated’ storytelling in a clear and intuitive way without using any single equation.’

Kwang-Hyun Cho - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

‘Voit is one of the leading systems biologists of our times. He is well known for his lucid textbooks and creative technical advances. In this gem of a book he manages to explain with clarity, insight, and subtle humor complex topics of systems biology that are still evolving, often found only in the primary literature, or hidden in the backstory of press releases attempting to create a buzz. I am sure my colleagues and non-scientist friends alike will find the book stimulating and fun to read. I venture to guess that even a young reader who is curious about such topics, like my own grandson, will find the vignettes captivating. This readable, witty account is sure to garner a wide readership.’

Michael A. Savageau - University of California, Davis

‘[This] book is written by a leading figure in the field of systems biology. Previous books by the same author have become standard texts in the field and this book is again an excellent example of Eberhard Voit’s outstanding communication skills. Given his standing in the field and long-standing experience, it is appropriate that he addresses with this book foundational issues. I wouldn’t miss a talk by Eberhard Voit and I certainly would buy and recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the complexity of living systems. The audience will not only be researchers (in various fields, from the engineering and physical sciences, to the biological and medical sciences) but the book will also appeal to a wider audience with a general interest in recent developments in the life sciences, taking a systems approach … This book is a perfect recommendation for pupils and students, encouraging them to become scientists.’

Olaf Wolkenhauer - University of Rostock

‘This is a fascinating book: lucid, logical and lively, full of fascinating scientific stories [on] the inner workings of life. Professor Eberhard Voit presents his case for the systems biology approach with elegance. He illustrates how modern biology calls for an openness that transcends the traditional scientific approach and techniques, and it takes us to the heart of a more complex scientific endeavor integrating mathematics, computer science and engineering to unravel the principles of life. It is a must-read for anyone, novice or professional, interested about the foundations of life, and the present and future of research in the biomedical sciences.’

Santiago Schnell - University of Michigan Medical School

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