Systems science applications in medicine are known since the 1950s when Ludwig von Bertalanffy was founding his general theory of living systems. At present, by new technological and formal methods in modern biology and medicine this perspective gets new support.

The emerging field of Systems Medicine aims at a systemic understanding of health and disease on the basis of complex molecular data sets that are obtained by high-throughput technologies and that are analyzed by mathematical tools of complexity research. These new approaches promise better diagnosis, treatments, predictions and preventions of diseases by personalized data and participation of the patient.

But not only systems thinking in medicine, also systems thinking of medicine is important: Beyond economic approaches the methodologies of systems analysis and systems design are useful tools for the structural and functional analysis as well as the transformation of health care systems.

In order to stimulate this development of interdisciplinary discussion between medicine, systems biology, informatics and systems science several lectures are organized by the BCSSS, chaired by BCSSS Fellow Prof. Dr.Dr.Dr. Felix Tretter, in spring / summer 2015 at the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, Paulanergasse 13/5, 1040 Vienna, Austria.

First lecture:

Ass.Prof. Dr. Peter Klimek,
Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

„Complexity Science and Systems Medicine“

Thursday, March 19th, 4pm

The convergence of systems medicine and big data leads to a medicine that promises a more predictive, preventive and personalized healthcare. Our growing understanding of molecular and cellular processes, together with the availability of phenotypical information such as electronic health records, enables us to gain insights into pathogenic mechanisms across several biological orders of magnitudes, from the cell over the organism to the societal level. It is the complex interplay of several genetic and environmental influences on each of these levels that may finally lead to the manifestation of chronic diseases. We will illustrate these research efforts with several examples. We show how time-dependent human disease networks can be used to develop personalized models to predict the future health state of a population, how epigenetic risk factors for chronic diseases can be detected in an automated way, but also how complexity science enables us to gain a systemic understanding of the efficiencies of the health care system itself.


Second lecture:

Dr. Jörg Menche,
Network Science, Boston & Budapest

“Diseases in the human interactome”

Friday, April 24th, 2pm

Further lectures are planned for May and June 2015. Together with Prof. Tretter the Bertalanffy Center intends to establish a Research Group to investigate these future potentials. These open meetings mark unique opportunities for researchers and students from a variety of disciplines and representatives from industry, and from the private and governmental health care and insurance system to connect with us.

If you are interested to join, please, send a message to