For centuries, people have looked at living things and wondered how they work, why they look the way they do, and how they adapt to changing environments.
Yet despite the enormous strides made in understanding such developments with the advent of such aids as single-cell sequencing, whole-brain imaging, and connectomics, there is still much that biologists do not understand about the systems they study.
To address that gap, Harvard is launching the Quantitative Biology Initiative, with support from University President Drew Faust and Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Michael D. Smith.
The initiative will tackle fundamental biology questions ranging from how living systems grow, divide, and pattern themselves to how they process information about their surroundings, store information they have learned, and make decisions to thrive and reproduce.
The leaders of the initiative are Vinothan Manoharan, the Wagner Family Professor of Chemical Engineering and professor of physics, and Sharad Ramanathan, the Llura and Gordon Gund Professor of Neurosciences and of Molecular and Cellular Biology and professor of applied physics and stem cell and regenerative biology.