Amanda Caples, Hiroaki Kitano, Silvio Tiziani and Sarah Boyd.

SBI Australia: A node of Japan’s Systems Biology Institute

Japan’s pioneering Systems Biology Institute has opened a node in Australia in collaboration with EMBL Australia. Its first site is at Monash University in Melbourne.

SBI Australia is enabling Australian researchers to apply the new techniques of systems biology to their own work, to access powerful computing resources and to tap in to international collaboration.

It’s part of a stable of initiatives from EMBL Australia which are helping Australian science to internationalise and answer bigger questions.

The Institute is already working with colleagues in research, industry and clinical practice across Australia and the world, including: the Australian Institute for Marine Science; Japan’s RIKEN institute; the University of California, Merced; and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

SBI Australia team: Amanda Caples, Hiroaki Kitano, Silvio Tiziani and Sarah Boyd.

Amanda Caples, Hiroaki Kitano, Silvio Tiziani and Sarah Boyd.

Systems biology uses all the tools of the biological and computer science revolutions to look at whole plants and animals. Instead of breaking cells, organs, genomes or whole organisms into their component parts, systems biology studies them as a whole. High powered computing allows us to crunch vast quantities of biological data, looking for patterns and similarities. Whole organism and real-time imaging techniques are also fundamental. The methods of systems biology can even be used to study entire ecosystems.

“Systems biology is a multidisciplinary science that tackles the big questions,” says Prof Hiroaki Kitano, director and founder of the Systems Biology Institute. “It can’t be done by just one person or one laboratory—it needs integration of data, knowledge, and various expertise from medical and biology experts to computer science and engineering experts.”

SBI Australia is an initiative of EMBL Australia, which is already working with the Systems Biology Institute to better understand how embryos develop and grow. Using EMBL Australia’s expertise in molecular biology, SBI’s computer modelling and clinical data from Monash IVF, the team is focused on improving the success of IVF for parents.

SBI Australia welcomes interest from undergraduate and postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research and industry organisations who would like to be part of this exciting new venture.

Contact Sarah Boyd on for more information about SBI Australia.