Principles of Systems Biology

Denis Nobel is an eminent British biologist who held the Burdon Sanderson Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology at Oxford University from 1984-2004 and is now Professor Emeritus and co-Director of Computational Physiology. He is one of the pioneers of Systems Biology and developed the first viable mathematical model of the working heart in 1960. His research focuses on using computer models of biological organs and organ systems to interpret function from the molecular level to the whole organism. Together with international collaborators, his team has used supercomputers to create the first virtual organ, the virtual heart. Noble was educated at Emanuel School and University College London [UCL]. In 1958 he began his investigations into the mechanisms of heartbeat. This led to two seminal papers in Nature in 1960 giving the first proper simulation of the heart. From this work it became clear that there was not a single oscillator which controlled heartbeat, but rather this was an emergent property of the feedback loops in the various channels. In 1961 he obtained his PhD working under Otto Hutter at UCL.