On 11 to 12 of April, BCSSS Vice President Felix Tretter invited a round of experts to discuss paths ‘Towards Organismic Systems Medicine’ in his function as a leader of the BCSSS Research Group ‘Systems Medicine and Health Care Systems’. In this workshop, the prevailing epistemology of molecular systems medicine (MSM), which is typically technology and data driven, was called into question. Whereas the understanding of health in MSM is driven by multivariate analysis, graph theory, learning algorithms and AI, there is often a lack of theory led epistemology behind research.

The aim of the workshop was to relate clinical observations, laboratory views and mathematical perspectives to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory (GST), as well as organismic systems medicine (OSM) as can be derived from Bertalanffy’s organismic biology.

A group of distinguished guests presented their insights about a variety of topics:

  • current issues of experimental cancer research (Michael Grusch, Medical University of Vienna)
  • the contribution of data analytics in discovery of structures (Gerhard Kranner, Viscovery Vienna)
  • identifying operational molecular circuits in disease (Uri Alon, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
  • modeling functions and dysfunctions of organs (Johannes Dietrich, Hospital Bergmannsheil, Germany)
  • puzzling issues in diabetes mellitus (Peter Fasching, Wilhelminen Hospital Vienna)
  • modeling the molecular and cellular dynamics of pancreas regulation (Michael Meyer-Hermann, Helmoltz Institute, Germany)
  • From a molecular to an organismic view in systems medicine (Olaf Wolkenhauer, Bioinformatics, Germany)

The expert workshop was continued in fall. Please read the report on Integrative Systems Medicine here.