Where conceptual and technological constraints once forced researchers to examine living systems one small slice at a time, we can now find complex connections ranging from the basic building blocks of life to public policy. The Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech is at the forefront of this scientific evolution, applying a deeply contextual approach to answer some of the most pressing challenges to human health, habitat, and well-being. Our research is interdisciplinary to its core, integrating methods from the life, cognitive, and social sciences, as well environmental studies and infrastructural development. The institute guides emergency response to epidemics, makes urban infrastructure more sustainable, and accelerates the discovery of treatments for chronic diseases. We are pioneers in biocomplexity, the study of life and environment as a complex system. A biocomplexity approach analyzes the interactions between many simple components that combine to produce significant effects on the macro scale. By understanding biology in the context of ecosystems and human-created systems that interact on many levels, we are able to uncover powerful connections between healthcare, security, information networks, and infrastructure.

Sub-communities within this community

  • Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery [3]

    An interdisciplinary group committed to continuing the growth and advancing the stature of the existing drug discovery and development programs at Virginia Tech.

Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Monitoring Influenza Epidemics in China with Search Query from Baidu 

    Yuan, Qingyu; Nsoesie, Elaine O.; Lv, Benfu; Peng, Geng; Chunara, Rumi; Brownstein, John S. (PLOS, 2013-05-30)
    Several approaches have been proposed for near real-time detection and prediction of the spread of influenza. These include search query data for influenza-related terms, which has been explored as a tool for augmenting ...
  • Coordinated regulation of photosynthesis in rice increases yield and tolerance to environmental stress 

    Ambavaram, Madana M.R.; Basu, Supratim; Krishnan, Arjun; Ramegowda, X; Batlang, Utlwang; Rahman, L.; Baisakh, Niranjan; Pereira, Andy (Nature Publishing Group, 2014-12-01)
    Improving photosynthetic efficiency to increase crop yield is an important goal of plant breeders. Here, Ambavaram et al. identify a transcription factor that is a key regulator of photosynthetic carbon metabolism in rice ...
  • Network Effects of Risk Behavior Change Following Prophylactic Interventions 

    Rajaraman, Rajmohan; Sun, Zhifeng; Sundaram, Ravi; Vullikanti, Anil Kumar S. (PLOS, 2013-08-01)
    We formulated a network-based model to understand how risk behavior change in conjunction with failure of prophylactic interventions can lead to unintended outcomes where “less (intervention) is more (effective).” Our model ...
  • Risk Map of Cholera Infection for Vaccine Deployment: The Eastern Kolkata Case 

    You, Young Ae; Ali, Mohammad; Kanungo, Suman; Sah, Binod; Manna, Byomkesh; Puri, Mahesh; Nair, G. Balakrish; Bhattacharya, Sujit Kumar; Convertino, Matteo; Deen, Jacqueline L.; Lopez, Anna Lena; Wierzba, Thomas F.; Clemens, John; Sur, Dipika (PLOS, 2013-08-02)
    Background Despite advancement of our knowledge, cholera remains a public health concern. During March-April 2010, a large cholera outbreak afflicted the eastern part of Kolkata, India. The quantification of importance ...
  • The Genome-Wide Early Temporal Response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Oxidative Stress Induced by Cumene Hydroperoxide 

    Sha, Wei; Martins, Ana M.; Laubenbacher, Reinhard; Mendes, Pedro; Shulaev, Vladimir (PLOS, 2013-09-20)
    Oxidative stress is a well-known biological process that occurs in all respiring cells and is involved in pathophysiological processes such as aging and apoptosis. Oxidative stress agents include peroxides such as hydrogen ...
  • What Can We Learn from Global Sensitivity Analysis of Biochemical Systems? 

    Kent, Edward; Neumann, Stefan; Kummer, Ursula; Mendes, Pedro (PLOS, 2013-09-14)
    Most biological models of intermediate size, and probably all large models, need to cope with the fact that many of their parameter values are unknown. In addition, it may not be possible to identify these values unambiguously ...
  • Systematic Construction of Kinetic Models from Genome-Scale Metabolic Networks 

    Stanford, Natalie J.; Lubitz, Timo; Smallbone, Kieran; Klipp, Edda; Mendes, Pedro; Liebermeister, Wolfram (PLOS, 2013-09-14)
    The quantitative effects of environmental and genetic perturbations on metabolism can be studied in silico using kinetic models. We present a strategy for large-scale model construction based on a logical layering of data ...
  • What to know before forecasting the flu 

    Chakraborty, Prithwish; Lewis, Bryan; Eubank, Stephen; Brownstein, John S.; Marathe, Madhav; Ramakrishnan, Naren (PLOS, 2018-10-12)
    Accurate and timely influenza (flu) forecasting has gained significant traction in recent times. If done well, such forecasting can aid in deploying effective public health measures. Unlike other statistical or machine ...
  • Body Weight Selection Affects Quantitative Genetic Correlated Responses in Gut Microbiota 

    Meng, He; Zhang, Yan; Zhao, Lele; Zhao, Wenjing; He, Chuan; Honaker, Christa F.; Zhai, Zhengxiao; Sun, Zikui; Siegel, Paul B. (PLOS, 2014-03-07)
    The abundance of gut microbiota can be viewed as a quantitative trait, which is affected by the genetics and environment of the host. To quantify the effects of host genetics, we calculated the heritability of abundance ...
  • Response of the Hepatic Transcriptome to Aflatoxin B-1 in Domestic Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) 

    Monson, Melissa S.; Settlage, Robert E.; McMahon, Kevin W.; Mendoza, Kristelle M.; Rawal, Sumit; El-Nezami, Hani S.; Coulombe, Roger A.; Reed, Kent M. (PLOS, 2014-06-30)
    Dietary exposure to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is detrimental to avian health and leads to major economic losses for the poultry industry. AFB1 is especially hepatotoxic in domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), since these birds ...
  • Adaptive Imaging Cytometry to Estimate Parameters of Gene Networks Models in Systems and Synthetic Biology 

    Ball, David A.; Lux, Matthew W.; Adames, Neil R.; Peccoud, Jean (PLOS, 2014-09-11)
    The use of microfluidics in live cell imaging allows the acquisition of dense time-series from individual cells that can be perturbed through computer-controlled changes of growth medium. Systems and synthetic biologists ...
  • Ligand Binding Reveals a Role for Heme in Translationally-Controlled Tumor Protein Dimerization 

    Lucas, Andrew T.; Fu, Xiangping; Liu, JingJing; Brannon, Mary K.; Yang, Jianhua; Capelluto, Daniel G. S.; Finkielstein, Carla V. (PLOS, 2014-11-14)
    The translationally-controlled tumor protein (TCTP) is a highly conserved, ubiquitously expressed, abundant protein that is broadly distributed among eukaryotes. Its biological function spans numerous cellular processes ...
  • Exome-Wide Somatic Microsatellite Variation Is Altered in Cells with DNA Repair Deficiencies 

    Vaksman, Zalman; Fonville, Natalie C.; Tae, Hongseok; Garner, Harold R. (PLOS, 2014-11-17)
    Microsatellites (MST), tandem repeats of 1–6 nucleotide motifs, are mutational hot-spots with a bias for insertions and deletions (INDELs) rather than single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The majority of MST instability ...
  • GFP-Based Fluorescence Assay for CAG Repeat Instability in Cultured Human Cells 

    Santillan, Beatriz A.; Moye, Christopher; Mittelman, David; Wilson, John H. (PLOS, 2014-11-25)
    Trinucleotide repeats can be highly unstable, mutating far more frequently than point mutations. Repeats typically mutate by addition or loss of units of the repeat. CAG repeat expansions in humans trigger neurological ...
  • Comparative genome analyses reveal sequence features reflecting distinct modes of host-adaptation between dicot and monocot powdery mildew 

    Wu, Ying; Ma, Xianfeng; Pan, Zhiyong; Kale, Shiv D; Song, Yi; King, Harlan; Zhang, Qiong; Presley, Christian; Deng, Xiuxin; Wei, Cheng-I; Xiao, Shunyuan (2018-09-25)
    Abstract Background Powdery mildew (PM) is one of the most important and widespread plant diseases caused by biotrophic fungi. Notably, while monocot (grass) PM fungi exhibit ...
  • Implications of alternative routes to APC/C inhibition by the mitotic checkpoint complex 

    Gross, Fridolin; Bonaiuti, Paolo; Hauf, Silke; Ciliberto, Andrea (PLOS, 2018-09-10)
    The mitotic checkpoint (also called spindle assembly checkpoint) is a signaling pathway that ensures faithful chromosome segregation. Mitotic checkpoint proteins inhibit the anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) and its ...
  • Assessing Glucose Uptake through the Yeast Hexose Transporter 1 (Hxt1) 

    Roy, Adhiraj; Dement, Angela D.; Cho, Kyu Hong; Kim, Jeong-Ho (PLOS, 2015-03-27)
    The transport of glucose across the plasma membrane is mediated by members of the glucose transporter family. In this study, we investigated glucose uptake through the yeast hexose transporter 1 (Hxt1) by measuring ...
  • Systems Modeling of Interactions between Mucosal Immunity and the Gut Microbiome during Clostridium difficile Infection 

    Leber, Andrew; Viladomiu, Monica; Hontecillas, Raquel; Abedi, Vida; Philipson, Casandra; Hoops, Stefan; Howard, Brad; Bassaganya-Riera, Josep (PLOS, 2015-07-31)
    Clostridium difficile infections are associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and result in an exuberant inflammatory response, leading to nosocomial diarrhea, colitis and even death. To better understand the ...
  • Rule-Based Design of Plant Expression Vectors Using GenoCAD 

    Coll, Anna; Wilson, Mandy L.; Gruden, Kristina; Peccoud, Jean (PLOS, 2015-07-06)
    Plant synthetic biology requires software tools to assist on the design of complex multi-genic expression plasmids. Here a vector design strategy to express genes in plants is formalized and implemented as a grammar in ...
  • Modeling the Regulatory Mechanisms by Which NLRX1 Modulates Innate Immune Responses to Helicobacter pylori Infection 

    Philipson, Casandra W.; Bassaganya-Riera, Josep; Viladomiu, Monica; Kronsteiner, Barbara; Abedi, Vida; Hoops, Stefan; Michalak, Pawel; Kang, Lin; Girardin, Stephen E.; Hontecillas, Raquel (PLOS, 2015-09-14)
    Helicobacter pylori colonizes half of the world’s population as the dominant member of the gastric microbiota resulting in a lifelong chronic infection. Host responses toward the bacterium can result in asymptomatic, ...

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