Focus on the emerging new fields of network physiology and network medicine

Plamen C.H. Ivanov, Kang K.L. Liu, Ronny P. Bartsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Despite the vast progress and achievements in systems biology and integrative physiology in the last decades, there is still a significant gap in understanding the mechanisms through which (i) genomic, proteomic and metabolic factors and signaling pathways impact vertical processes across cells, tissues and organs leading to the expression of different disease phenotypes and influence the functional and clinical associations between diseases, and (ii) how diverse physiological systems and organs coordinate their functions over a broad range of space and time scales and horizontally integrate to generate distinct physiologic states at the organism level. Two emerging fields, network medicine and network physiology, aim to address these fundamental questions. Novel concepts and approaches derived from recent advances in network theory, coupled dynamical systems, statistical and computational physics show promise to provide new insights into the complexity of physiological structure and function in health and disease, bridging the genetic and sub-cellular level with inter-cellular interactions and communications among integrated organ systems and sub-systems. These advances form first building blocks in the methodological formalism and theoretical framework necessary to address fundamental problems and challenges in physiology and medicine. This 'focus on' issue contains 26 articles representing state-of-the-art contributions covering diverse systems from the sub-cellular to the organism level where physicists have key role in laying the foundations of these new fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100201
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


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