The term "systems biology" has always been one of the amorphous buzz word categories that could be applied to just about anything, in my mind. For the longest time, I had no sweet clue what it actually meant, never meant anyone who could succinctly define it or knew who would raise their hand if you yelled out at a meeting "WHO HERE IS A SYSTEMS BIOLOGIST?" Imagine my surprise then when I recently came to the realization that if you ask nine colleagues and none of them are systems biologists, the systems biologist in the room must be you... er me.
I can't figure out if I'm an idiot for not knowing the broad category that some of research can be classified as or if NSF pulled some ninja shit on me and threw a box over my head when I was looking the other way. Part of the problem is that much of what we do doesn't fit neatly into one category, but instead leaves a smear through a neat classification scheme like a slug in an immaculate garden. I've written a bit about the kinds of research done in my lab, but we more chase down questions using whatever (usually obscure) organism(s) we think will be most suitable. I guess that means we work with "systems", but I never meant to, I swear. Well, I guess it's good to know that I should stop rolling my eyes every time I see a systems biology conference ad.
2 hours ago