Translational systems approaches to the biology of inflammation and healing

Yoram Vodovotz*, Gregory Constantine, James Faeder, Qi Mi, Jonathan Rubin, John Bartels, Joydeep Sarkar, Robert H. Squires, David O. Okonkwo, Jörg Gerlach, Ruben Zamora, Shirley Luckhart, Bard Ermentrout, Gary An

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Inflammation is a complex, non-linear process central to many of the diseases that affect both developed and emerging nations. A systems-based understanding of inflammation, coupled to translational applications, is therefore necessary for efficient development of drugs and devices, for streamlining analyses at the level of populations, and for the implementation of personalized medicine. We have carried out an iterative and ongoing program of literature analysis, generation of prospective data, data analysis, and computational modeling in various experimental and clinical inflammatory disease settings. These simulations have been used to gain basic insights into the inflammatory response under baseline, gene-knockout, and drug-treated experimental animals for in silico studies associated with the clinical settings of sepsis, trauma, acute liver failure, and wound healing to create patient-specific simulations in polytrauma, traumatic brain injury, and vocal fold inflammation; and to gain insight into host-pathogen interactions in malaria, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis. These simulations have converged with other systems biology approaches (e.g., functional genomics) to aid in the design of new drugs or devices geared towards modulating inflammation. Since they include both circulating and tissue-level inflammatory mediators, these simulations transcend typical cytokine networks by associating inflammatory processes with tissue/organ impacts via tissue damage/dysfunction. This framework has now allowed us to suggest how to modulate acute inflammation in a rational, individually optimized fashion. This plethora of computational and intertwined experimental/engineering approaches is the cornerstone of Translational Systems Biology approaches for inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-195
Number of pages15
JournalImmunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational biology
  • Inflammation
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Systems biology
  • Translational research


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