The annual international conference of the “New frontiers of biology” is now in its third edition and this year also proposes the study of a topic of great social and professional impact, in particular for biologists: how the use of high-throughput technologies and of the biomolecular omics disciplines in the pharmaceutical and environmental fields will change the concept of health / disease and consequently will change the ways of interaction between man and the environment in which he lives.
In the last two decades, technologies have been progressively imposed on use, both for research and diagnostic-analytical purposes, which allow screening of an extremely high number of compounds (high-throughput investigation techniques) such as Next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry.
These technologies, together with the indispensable bioinformatics analysis for the processing of large amounts of information (Big Data), allow to study complex matrices such as biological and biotechnological drugs and to identify with extreme accuracy the contaminations potentially present (chemical, protein, material genetic), making it possible to control the quality of these pharmaceutical products until now not feasible and bringing out new criticalities on their safety and efficacy.
The first session of the conference will feature speakers from the field of production and quality control of innovative pharmaceutical products such as biological and biotechnological drugs and will illustrate how High-throughput technologies are changing the ways these products are studied for quality, the safety and effectiveness, with a view to precision medicine ever more accurate and aimed at maximizing the benefit / risk ratio.
Another very important field of application of high-throughput investigation technologies is in precision medicine and in the study of the interaction between environmental factors and living beings through the “omics” sciences, to which the biomolecular disciplines that have as object the study belong of the set of genes (genomics), of transcripts (transcriptomics), of proteins (proteomics), of metabolites (metabolomics) and of reversible modifications of DNA or of DNA-associated proteins (epigenomics) expressed by a cell, unlike what they do the traditional biological sciences that instead deal with studying biological processes individually.
The increasing integration of knowledge coming from the different omics disciplines into “System biology” or “High-dimensional-biology” brings with it the need to enhance current capabilities to generate and share Big Data through closer collaboration not only horizontally, that is within the scientific community, but also vertically, that is with the productive world that is transforming itself from a producer of molecules to a service company for the health of the individual patient and the environment in which he lives.
In the second session the speakers will present us various applications of the omic sciences and how these studies are rapidly expanding our knowledge on the interactions between complex systems (living beings-environment) and on the mechanism of induction of cell damage in infectious, autoimmune, inflammatory diseases and cancer.
It is easy to understand how technological innovation and the integration of knowledge obtained with the application of High-throughput technologies is a great challenge for professionals working in the field of human health, in particular biologists, because these technological advances are placed at the crossroads between purely reductionist approaches (understanding of complex phenomena through their disaggregation into simpler single aspects) which nevertheless maintain their importance for the study in detail of a particular biological phenomenon, to approaches more oriented to a systemic, “holistic” view of science, in which alongside the more traditional vision of research, “hypothesis-driven” (based on the hypotheses, with which we try to explain natural phenomena), we increasingly affirm that of “discovery-driven” (based on the observation of phenomena as a whole and to the discovery of new knowledge), with the aim of realizing the so-called “4P medicine”: personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory.