Transcending Boundaries Together
Cells and multicellular organisms have long been recognized as sophisticated information processors. They sense and integrate external signals in order to adapt to environmental changes and to communicate with other cells and organisms. The underlying rules and decision criteria of these biological information processes are fundamentally different from those of man-made computers, both in design and function. Biological systems are distributed probabilistic devices which compute information at multiple levels, ranging from single proteins to cellular networks (as schematically depicted in the Figure), with a superior robustness of function. Therefore, biological systems represent a rich source of inspiration for the future development of novel soft- and hardware architectures. A prerequisite to employ the principles of biological information processes in man-made technological information systems is a thorough quantitative understanding of biological information processes on all scales. We therefore aim to decipher the underlying mechanisms of such biological information processes from the molecular level to cells and cellular networks, and bring this knowledge to the first proof-of-principle applications.
The IBI has direct access to large scientific facilities and sophisticated equipment like high-field NMR, synchrotron radiation sources, neutron scattering at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Scattering (JCNS), high-resolution CryoEM, and the Helmholtz Nano Facility (HNF).
Organizational Chart: Institute of Biological Information Processing