Data, Models, & Methods

Research Data

IUPS supports initiatives which enable interoperability and usability of research data for open science. According to Codata, a committee of the International Science Council (ICS), in which IUPS represents physiology, research data should be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). IUPS supports the efforts of Codata and similar organizations all over the world to promote Open Science.

Models & Methods

Scientific disciplines are characterized by specific methods and scientific standards. These were developed by leading scientists all over the world and are continuously expanding and improving. Many national societies have made efforts to standardize techniques and to improve methods. IUPS is planning to generate a library of methods together with national societies which is intended to support scientists in designing their experiments. It also informs on some methods which are currently in focus (see below)

Technical advances enabling integrative approaches in physiology

In 2020 the Noble prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on CRISPR-Cas9

Genome editing technologies give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA including genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. A recently developed technique to gene editing is known as CRISPR-Cas9, which is short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9. CRISPR-Cas9 was adapted from a naturally occurring genome editing system in bacteria [1] allowing them attacking and also to “remember” viruses. In case of repeated virus attacks, the bacteria produce RNA segments from the CRISPR arrays to target the viruses’ DNA and cut it using Cas9 or a similar enzyme, which altogether disables the virus [2]. The system works similarly in the lab with creating a small piece of RNA with a short “guide” sequence that binds to a specific target sequence of DNA in the genome. The RNA also binds to the Cas9 enzyme. The modified RNA is used to recognize the DNA sequence, and the Cas9 enzyme cuts the DNA at the targeted location [3]. Although Cas9 is the enzyme that is used most often, other enzymes (e.g. Cpf1) can also be used. Once the DNA is cut, researchers use the cell’s own DNA repair machinery to add or delete pieces of genetic material, or to make changes in the DNA by replacing an existing segment with a customized sequence. It is widely used in basic science and biotechnology because it is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and more efficient than other existing genome editing methods. It has of great interest in the development of future therapeutics of human diseases [4], however scientists are still working to determine whether this approach is safe and effective for use in people. [(1)Jansen, R., et al., 2002. 43(6): p. 1565-75; (2)Jinek, M., et al., 2012. 337(6096): p. 816-21’ (3)Jiang, F., J.A. Doudna, Annu Rev Biophys, 2017. 46: p. 505- 529; (4)Knott, G.J., J.A. Doudna, CRISPR-Cas guides the future of genetic engineering. Science, 2018. 361(6405): p. 866-869].

Mathematical modelling plays a special role in developing a new systems approach and a new “scientific language” for the improved understanding of complex biological systems. IUPS supports this goal by supporting the Physiome project and co-publishing the new Physiome journal