Beyond Mendel: modeling in biology
Consulting Editors: Arthur Lander, Ewa Paluch
Modeling has a long and distinguished history in biology, and is becoming increasingly important as the growing availability of enormous datasets challenges the ability of biologists to extract understanding from knowledge . The construction of models for biological systems is however widely regarded with suspicion, partly because much modeling seems an empty intellectual exercise that fails to deliver biological insight. This series is launched with the objective of explaining the importance of modeling for biologists , and how to exploit the power and elegance of quantitative reasoning without losing sight of the biological reality.
The series is dedicated to our Editorial Board member Julian Lewis, on whose death in April 2014 the field lost an outstanding example of how to combine theoretical elegance with biological relevance .
The three articles featured here include an appreciation of Julian Lewis, and illustrate the aims of the series.
Submissions reflecting the application of quantitative and modeling approaches to biological research are welcomed.
- Lander A: The edges of understanding. BMC Biology 2010, 8:40.
- Gunawardena J: Models in biology: accurate descriptions of our pathetic thinking. BMC Biology 2014, 12:29.
- Lander A: Making sense in biology: an appreciation of Julian Lewis. BMC Biology 2014, 12:57.
The edges of understanding
BMC Biology 2010, 8:40
Mathematical models of biological systems are never ‘right’, but they are essential for understanding.
Models in biology: accurate descriptions of our pathetic thinking
BMC Biology 2014, 12:29
Models in biology, unlike laws in physics, are not predictive and must be falsifiable. With examples from cell biology, immunology and developmental biology, Jeremy Gunawardena explains how the special requirements of modeling in biology work, and the perils of over-fitting.
Making sense in biology: an appreciation of Julian Lewis
BMC Biology 2014, 12:57
Arthur Lander paints a picture of a model modeller, mild and gentle in demeanor, adamantine in logic, and impeccably clear and simple in exposition.
Collection published: 5 August 2014
Last updated: 5 December 2014