Welcome to the ModMen project website!
The research project “Of Models and Men: Integration, Standardization and Individualization in Systems Medicine” (ModMen) is part of the ELSA-SYSTEMS MEDICINE initiative for collaborative research projects on ethical, legal, socio-cultural and economic aspects of systems medicine. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (project no.: 01GP1406) and carried-out by the Research Centre for Biotechnology, Society and the Environment (FSP BIOGUM) – Research Group Medicine and Neurosciences based at the University of Hamburg. It has started in August 2014 and will be completed in July 2017.
Systems medicine aims at translating systems biological knowledge into diagnostic, predictive and therapeutic applications taking account of individual differences among patients. While individualized medicine is more or less still orientated towards single biomarkers, systems medicine is grounded on mathematical models integrating heterogeneous data from different sources and levels. The project investigates how these data on biological systems are translated into medically relevant knowledge and which factors do impede these processes.
Our research guiding hypotheses are:
(1) The integration of data as well as translation of resulting knowledge into clinical practice are complex, interdisciplinary processes.
(2) They involve epistemic and technical as well as social and organizational questions and challenges.
(3) These challenges can create terminological, pragmatic and social differences and problems which impede the utilization of systems biological knowledge and its translation into clinical application.
A profound understanding of such integration and translation processes is a necessary precondition for overcoming potential hurdles generated by their complexity and interdisciplinarity. In order to contribute to their detailed understanding, the goal of the project is to empirically analyse the discourses, processes and practices of integration and translation in the context of systems medicine. From the perspective of Actor Network Theory (ANT), we will explore the ‘interface’ between research and clinical practice in which discourses, processes and practices of integration and translation are interrogated. As the components and the dynamics of integration and translation processes are so far rudimentary reflected and barely examined on an empirical basis, we will use exploratory empirical methods, in particular document analysis and interviews with scientists from involved disciplines comparing two fields of study in systems medicine (cancer and mental disorders).
WP 1 investigates epistemic concepts and epistemic practices that are interrogated in the interface between laboratory research and clinical practice. The analysis relies on written evidence and contrasting it with data taken from expert interviews. It addresses a variety of questions which revolve around aspects of integration of findings from different levels into networks, structures and functions. At the core are relations of data, hypotheses and models to structures, processes and dynamics of the human body, and finally of men, by questioning the functions of mathematic models ascribed in clinical practice.
WP 2 examines the utilization of systems biological knowledge for prediction, diagnosis and treatment in clinical application. The processes of translating research into practice are crucial to ensuring that new investigations actually result in new treatments reaching the patients. However, no clear model of translation is developed and broadly used yet. Translation includes a range of intermediate steps such as identification of biomarkers, target and pathway validation, testing in animal and preclinical development. By translating omics-research into the clinics, we assume that the principles of standardisation, stratification/individualisation and socialization (embedding) are primary preconditions to be used to apply heterogeneous data from different biological sources and levels to clinical treatment.
- Petersen, I./Kollek, R. Digital Scientific Practice in Systems Medicine.
In: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie: Verhandlungen des 37. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie "Routinen der Krise – Krise der Routinen" in Trier 2014. (forthcoming)
- “Framing Context, Re-Framing Research? ICT Technology in Systems Medicine”, presentation (Petersen/Kollek), EASST Conference, Torun, 17.-19.9.2014
- “Digitale Forschungskulturen in der Systemmedizin“, presentation (Petersen), 37. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie, Trier, 6. -10.10.2014
- "Vernetztes Leben. Neue Systemvorstellungen in den Biowissenschaften. Ringvorlesung „Umgang mit Technik – Entwicklung,
Potential, Folgen, Risiken, Nachhaltigkeit", presentation (Kollek), Universität für Bodenkultur, Vienna, 25.11.14
- "Vernetztes Leben. Neue Systemvorstellungen in den Biowissenschaften", presentaion (Kollek), [Q]uerblicke: Systeme Hafen City Universität Hamburg, 08.12.2014
- „Von Modellen und Menschen: Integration, Standardisierung und Individualisierung in der Systemmedizin, Projektpräsentation“, presentation (Petersen/Kollek), interdisciplinary research lecture „Ausgewählte Probleme der Bewertung moderner wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen, FSP Biogum, Universität Hamburg, WS 2014/15
- „From Models and Humans: Integration, Standardization and Individualization in Systems Medicine“, presentation (Pertesen/Kollek), Kick-Off Meeting e-med/ELSA systems medicine, DKFZ, Heidelberg
- „From Models and Humans. Integration, Standardization and Individualization in Systems Medicine“, poster (Petersen/Kollek), Kick-Off Meeting e-med/ ELSA systems medicine, DKFZ, Heidelberg [PDF]