Animals are complex systems of interconnected elements (modules) operating at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Discovering systems-level attributes that make animals resilient or robust, or conversely sensitive or fragile, to change presents a grand challenge for biology. Knowledge of these attributes and the underlying mechanisms controlling them is necessary for predicting how animals will respond to short- and long-term changes in internal and external environments. Traditional approaches in biology are inadequate for the task. Significant advances can be made by incorporating tools from the disciplines of applied mathematics, engineering, and modeling. To successfully incorporate these tools into organismal biology, mechanisms are needed for cross-training and facilitating collaborations at all professional levels across these scientific fields.
OSyM stimulates collaborations using systems approaches through several mechanisms:
- perspectives papers on the benefits of these new integrative and quantitative models,
- symposia at national and international meetings of biologists, mathematicians and engineers,
- discussion on the new frontiers that can be addressed through their use, and
- training opportunities that will allow biologists, mathematicians, modelers, and engineers to gain practical skills in applying them.
OSyM is committed to fostering diversity at all levels. Developing a broad and diverse set of interdisciplinary collaborators is critical for the success of OSyM and for solving Grand Challenges. We encourage scientists and modeling experts at all career levels and all types of institutions to join our network.