What is Multiscale Biology?
Multiscale Biology is the explicit and coordinated study of biology at a hierarchy of levels of resolution ranging from individual molecules observed in real time, to organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, populations, and entire ecosystems. New methods to study the activity of single biomolecules in real time at high multiplex give us the first opportunity to relate rich data on individual molecules with higher-order emergent properties of biological systems, from molecular networks to physiological states.
As an example, for the first time it is becoming possible to relate the precise molecular diversity of individual viruses in their native state with the health of individual cells, whole tissues, individual organisms, and populations and hence to ascertain with confidence the impact of molecular diversity and change on the health of a population.
This coupling of molecular data to the overall health of organisms and populations will greatly facilitate the translation of today’s abundant research at the molecular level to the health of individuals and populations by placing that molecular data squarely in the context of an organism’s phenotype at all scales. Similarly, the rich molecular description of individuals and their component organs, tissues, and cells allows discrimination and comparison of individuals within and across species with a precision that was previously impossible. With this effective translation of insight across biological scales, individuals, and species, the Institute will have unprecedented effectiveness in studying, managing, and harnessing biological systems.