• Aging and computational systems biology

      Mooney, Kathleen M.; Morgan, Amy; Mc Auley, Mark T.; Edgehill University, University of Chester (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-01-29)
      Aging research is undergoing a paradigm shift, which has led to new and innovative methods of exploring this complex phenomenon. The systems biology approach endeavors to understand biological systems in a holistic manner, by taking account of intrinsic interactions, while also attempting to account for the impact of external inputs, such as diet. A key technique employed in systems biology is computational modeling, which involves mathematically describing and simulating the dynamics of biological systems. Although a large number of computational models have been developed in recent years, these models have focused on various discrete components of the aging process, and to date no model has succeeded in completely representing the full scope of aging. Combining existing models or developing new models may help to address this need and in so doing could help achieve an improved understanding of the intrinsic mechanisms which underpin aging.
    • Computational systems biology for aging research

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Mooney, Kathleen M.; University of Chester ; Edge Hill University (Karger, 2015)
      Computational modelling is a key component of systems biology and integrates with the other techniques discussed thus far in this book by utilizing a myriad of data that are being generated to quantitatively represent and simulate biological systems. This chapter will describe what computational modelling involves; the rationale for using it, and the appropriateness of modelling for investigating the aging process. How a model is assembled and the different theoretical frameworks that can be used to build a model are also discussed. In addition, the chapter will describe several models which demonstrate the effectiveness of each computational approach for investigating the constituents of a healthy aging trajectory. Specifically, a number of models will be showcased which focus on the complex age-related disorders associated with unhealthy aging. To conclude, we discuss the future applications of computational systems modelling to aging research.
    • Mathematical modelling of metabolic regulation in aging

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Angell, Peter J.; Wilkinson, Stephen J.; University of Chester ; Liverpool Hope University ; Edge Hill University ; University of Chester (MDPI, 2015-04-27)
      The underlying cellular mechanisms that characterize aging are complex and multifaceted. However, it is emerging that aging could be regulated by two distinct metabolic hubs. These hubs are the pathway defined by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and that defined by the NAD+-dependent deacetylase enzyme, SIRT1. Recent experimental evidence suggests that there is crosstalk between these two important pathways; however, the mechanisms underpinning their interaction(s) remains poorly understood. In this review, we propose using computational modelling in tandem with experimentation to delineate the mechanism(s). We briefly discuss the main modelling frameworks that could be used to disentangle this relationship and present a reduced reaction pathway that could be modelled. We conclude by outlining the limitations of computational modelling and by discussing opportunities for future progress in this area.
    • Systems biology and synthetic biology: A new epoch for toxicology research

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Choi, Hyunok; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Paul, Emily; Miller, Veronica M.; University of Chester ; SUNY Albany ; Edge Hill University ; New York State Department of Health ; New York State Department of Health (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2015-01-26)
      Systems biology and synthetic biology are emerging disciplines which are becoming increasingly utilised in several areas of bioscience. Toxicology is beginning to benefit from systems biology and we suggest in the future that is will also benefit from synthetic biology. Thus, a new era is on the horizon. This review illustrates how a suite of innovative techniques and tools can be applied to understanding complex health and toxicology issues. We review limitations confronted by the traditional computational approaches to toxicology and epidemiology research, using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their effects on adverse birth outcomes as an illustrative example. We introduce how systems toxicology (and their subdisciplines, genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic toxicology) will help to overcome such limitations. In particular, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mathematical frameworks that computationally represent biological systems. Finally, we discuss the nascent discipline of synthetic biology and highlight relevant toxicological centred applications of this technique, including improvements in personalised medicine. We conclude this review by presenting a number of opportunities and challenges that could shape the future of these rapidly evolving disciplines.