Music of Life lecture
Lecture using stories from The
Music of Life with music accompaniment
(given at Out of the Box
conference in Maribor in May 2012)
Lecture in Dresden
Ten principles of Systems Biology
Lecture given at a Conference on Complex systems
in Dresden. It begins by noting that we do not yet really
know what Systems Biology is.
I agree with the following
probably running out of patience for some definition of
systems biology. In any case, I do not think the explicit
definition of systems biology should come from me but should
await the words of the first great modern systems biologist.
She or he is probably among us now." (Marc Kirschner,
Harvard University, 2005, Cell, 121, 503-504).
We are all
feeling our way in the face of the extreme complexity of
nature and the daunting task of unraveling her secrets.
Margulis-Dawkins debate in Oxford
(over 5000 views)
Debate in Leipzig in July 2012 on the
"No privileged level of causation:
An organism is not defined by its genome"
Lectures in Oxford
These lectures on systems biology for a public audience were
accompanied with music, one of them with the renowned
classical guitarist, Christoph Denoth (
Lecture in Freiburg
Plenary lecture, "Principles of systems biology and their
application to cells", given at the conference "Systems
Biology of Mammalian Cells" in Freiburg in June 2010:
Where are the cathedrals of the 21st century? They are here
in this room!
Published Lectures & articles (download pdfs)
Paton Lecture (ten principles of
Principle of Biological Relativity
"There is no
privileged level of causality in biological systems" (The
Music of Life, page xii) This lecture develops
this principle in the context of general principles of
Genes and Causation
(relations between genes and phenotype)
Third principle: DNA is not the sole transmitter of
"There are two components to molecular
inheritance: the genome DNA, which can be viewed as digital
information, and the cellular machinery, which can, perhaps
by contrast, be viewed as analogue information."
Biophysics and Systems Biology (why Systems Biology is
Systems biology and evolution
"Central building blocks of
the neo-Darwinian synthesis are now known to be incompatible
with the most recent discoveries in molecular biology."
"There is a widespread perception that
Darwin and Lamarck fought over this issue of the mechanisms
of inheritance" (The Music of Life, page 99). This
brief "Letter from Lamarck" explains why this perception is
Selfish genes: are they of any use in physiology?
"The selfish gene idea is not useful in the physiological
sciences, since selfishness cannot be defined as an
intrinsic property of nucleotide sequences independently of
gene frequency, i.e. the ‘success’ in the gene pool that is
supposed to be attributable to the ‘selfish’ property. It is
not a physiologically testable hypothesis.
Integral views of genetics
"This article uses an
integrative systems biological view of the relationship
between genotypes and phenotypes to clarify some conceptual
problems in biological debates about causality. The
differential (gene-centric) view is incomplete in a sense
analogous to using differentiation without integration in
A Theory of Biological relativity
Biological relativity can be seen as an
extension of the relativity principle by avoiding the
assumption that there is a privileged scale at which
biological functions are determined. It forms part of an
issue of the journal Interface Focus devoted to downward causation.
Lectures in French
On French translation page
On Music page