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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and their colleagues at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine are advocating the use of systems biology as an innovative clinical approach to cancer. This methodology could result in the development of improved diagnostic tools and treatment options as well as potential new drug targets to help combat the many potentially fatal types of cancer, note the scientists who published their paper online June 6 in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.

During this week's podcast Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher talks about the main conclusions of his team’s paper, including their conviction that systems biology is particularly appropriate for a new clinical approach to cancer. He describes how the use of this technique could lead to the discovery of specific diagnostics, therapies, and drug targets in the oncology setting.

Dr. Laubenbacher also discusses the necessity of taking a systemic view of cancer and then applying mathematical modeling techniques to study the disease. He provides three examples to support this approach and offers some suggestions on what researchers might be able to learn by going down this pathway.

At the end of the podcast Dr. Laubenbacher looks ahead 20 years and puts forth a vision for systems biology and cancer research and treatment.
Dr. Laubenbacher has been a Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech since 2001. He is also an affiliate faculty member in the School of Biomedical Engineering Sciences at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem (NC). Prior to these appointments Dr. Laubenbacher was an Assistant and Associate Professor and Professor of Mathematics at New Mexico State University. He has also served as Visiting Faculty for Los Alamos National Laboratories since 1999, was a member of the Mathematical Science Research Institute at Berkeley in 1998, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Cornell University in 1990 and 1993. Dr. Laubenbacher directs the Applied Discrete Mathematics Group at VBI. This group is interested in the development and application of bioinformatics tools using discrete mathematics, dynamical systems theory, and symbolic computation. Methods from combinatorics and combinatorial topology, as well as computational polynomial algebra are of particular interest.

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