The German Virtual Liver Network funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is a major interdisciplinary research initiative in systems biology. The Network’s goal is to create an integrated computer model of the liver as a complete organ with all of its diverse and essential functions. It is the first project worldwide to aim at building a truly multi-scale computer model of a complete organ – from the biomolecular and biochemical processes up to the anatomy of the whole organ. For this ambitious project 70 research groups from 41 institutions in science and industry and distributed across Germany have joined forces. The resulting models will contribute to an improved understanding of the liver as the body’s most important metabolic organ and how its function is affected in disease, helping to find new therapies.
The liver is a unique organ: It is the central metabolic organ of vertebrates, and is crucial for detoxification, digestion, iron uptake and synthesis of vital proteins. Hepatic metabolism is a major factor that needs to be considered in drug development, as it is central to toxicity and drug efficacy. The exploration of the liver and its functions by the network is therefore of the greatest relevance to medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
The SDBV group is responsible for the data management of the complete Virtual Liver Network. Our tasks include the development and maintenance of databases, the connexion of data resources distributed within the network, the development of standards for data exchange and the consultancy of network partners in all data management issues. Furthermore, using our database system SABIO-RK we contribute with the gathering and structuring of relevant quantitative data that describes biochemical reaction kinetics in divers liver cells.
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