Prof. Bela Novak University of Oxford, UK1 Talk
Béla Novák has been working at Budapest University of Technology and Economics for more than 25 years, but in 2007 he moved to Oxford to occupy the Chair of Integrative Systems Biology at the Department of Biochemistry. In the late eighties, he worked with Murdoch Mitchison in Edinburgh on the... read morefission yeast cell cycle. In the early 1990’s, he started a productive research program in collaboration with John Tyson, to build accurate mathematical models of the molecular interaction networks controlling cell cycle progression. He was convinced at the time that a mathematical approach is required to decipher the intricacies of molecular regulatory systems. His vision has since become a widely accepted paradigm in molecular systems biology. In 1993, he published the first realistic, computational model of cell cycle controls, focused on DNA synthesis and mitosis in frog embryos and extracts (J. Cell Sci. 106:1153-1168, 1993). In an editorial in Nature, this work was described as "a first step towards the much more ambitious models people will be building in the decades ahead". He developed computational models of cell cycle controls in other organisms, notably fission and budding yeasts, fruit-fly embryos and mammalian cells. His models are based on careful analysis of large amounts of biochemical and genetic data. His proposal that bistable switches underlie irreversible cell cycle transitions has been verified by numerous experimental tests. His models of the cell cycle engine are considered to be the most sophisticated quantitative models available, because they are closely tied to experiments.