Research Topic

Network Bioscience

About this Research Topic

Network science has accelerated a deep and successful trend in research that influences a range of disciplines like mathematics, graph theory, physics, statistics, data science and computer science (just to name a few) and adapts the relevant techniques and insights to address relevant but disparate social, biological, technological questions.

We are now in an era of ‘big biological data' supported by cost-effective high-throughput genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic data collection techniques that allow one to take snapshots of the cells' molecular profiles in a systematic fashion. Moreover recently, also phenotypic data, data on diseases, symptoms, patients, etc. are being collected at nation-wide level thus giving us another source of highly related (causal) 'big data'.

This wealth of data is usually modeled as networks (aka binary relations, graphs or webs) of interactions, (including protein–protein, metabolic, signaling and transcription-regulatory interactions). The network model is a key view point leading to the uncovering of mesoscale phenomena, thus providing an essential bridge between the observable phenotypes and 'omics' underlying mechanisms. Moreover, network analysis is a powerful 'hypothesis generation' tool guiding the scientific cycle of 'data gathering', 'data interpretation, 'hypothesis generation' and 'hypothesis testing’.

A major challenge in contemporary research is the synthesis of deep insights coming from network science with the wealth of data (often noisy, contradictory, incomplete and difficult to replicate) so to answer meaningful biological questions, in a quantifiable way using static and dynamic properties of biological networks.

Here we aim at collecting cutting-edge contributions by leading researchers in the area of network science applied to genetics and systems biology, so to provide a focus for the research community and disseminate the most promising breakthroughs.

The sub-topics in this area include but are not limited to:


  • (1) New experiments, technologies, algorithms and software for building and analyzing biological networks from 'omics' data, from symptoms, disease and phenotypic data, including integrated pipelines and visualization tools;

  • (2) Statistical models for biological networks and association studies involving network features and phenotypes;

  • (3) Algorithms and statistical models for biological networks in genetically heterogeneous samples (e.g. tumor data vs controls, tumor clonal heterogeneity);

  • (4) Performance evaluation of existing or novel network analysis methods using simulated and experimental genomic data sets;

  • (5) Statistical models and tools for building biological networks in model and non-model organisms.

  • (6) Network causality, network dynamics, network evolution, network based hypothesis generation, network-based interpretation of biological systems;

  • (7) Formal properties of biological networks (e.g. scale free, modularity, lethality, redundancy) and their biological interpretation;



We seek original research contributions as well as retrospective and perspective surveys of relevant sub-topics.


Keywords: systems biology, network science, network biology (including all omics), cancer networks, hypothesis generation, Laplacians, Regularization


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Network science has accelerated a deep and successful trend in research that influences a range of disciplines like mathematics, graph theory, physics, statistics, data science and computer science (just to name a few) and adapts the relevant techniques and insights to address relevant but disparate social, biological, technological questions.

We are now in an era of ‘big biological data' supported by cost-effective high-throughput genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic data collection techniques that allow one to take snapshots of the cells' molecular profiles in a systematic fashion. Moreover recently, also phenotypic data, data on diseases, symptoms, patients, etc. are being collected at nation-wide level thus giving us another source of highly related (causal) 'big data'.

This wealth of data is usually modeled as networks (aka binary relations, graphs or webs) of interactions, (including protein–protein, metabolic, signaling and transcription-regulatory interactions). The network model is a key view point leading to the uncovering of mesoscale phenomena, thus providing an essential bridge between the observable phenotypes and 'omics' underlying mechanisms. Moreover, network analysis is a powerful 'hypothesis generation' tool guiding the scientific cycle of 'data gathering', 'data interpretation, 'hypothesis generation' and 'hypothesis testing’.

A major challenge in contemporary research is the synthesis of deep insights coming from network science with the wealth of data (often noisy, contradictory, incomplete and difficult to replicate) so to answer meaningful biological questions, in a quantifiable way using static and dynamic properties of biological networks.

Here we aim at collecting cutting-edge contributions by leading researchers in the area of network science applied to genetics and systems biology, so to provide a focus for the research community and disseminate the most promising breakthroughs.

The sub-topics in this area include but are not limited to:


  • (1) New experiments, technologies, algorithms and software for building and analyzing biological networks from 'omics' data, from symptoms, disease and phenotypic data, including integrated pipelines and visualization tools;

  • (2) Statistical models for biological networks and association studies involving network features and phenotypes;

  • (3) Algorithms and statistical models for biological networks in genetically heterogeneous samples (e.g. tumor data vs controls, tumor clonal heterogeneity);

  • (4) Performance evaluation of existing or novel network analysis methods using simulated and experimental genomic data sets;

  • (5) Statistical models and tools for building biological networks in model and non-model organisms.

  • (6) Network causality, network dynamics, network evolution, network based hypothesis generation, network-based interpretation of biological systems;

  • (7) Formal properties of biological networks (e.g. scale free, modularity, lethality, redundancy) and their biological interpretation;



We seek original research contributions as well as retrospective and perspective surveys of relevant sub-topics.


Keywords: systems biology, network science, network biology (including all omics), cancer networks, hypothesis generation, Laplacians, Regularization


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

02 April 2018 Abstract
01 October 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

02 April 2018 Abstract
01 October 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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