Mar./2011
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Homeodynamics -Understanding and Control of Spatio-temporal Dynamics between Neural, Endocrine and Immunological Networks/CRDS-FY2010-SP-12
Executive Summary

We propose research promotion of homeodynamics as the dynamics of homeostasis in this strategic initiative. Homeostasis is one of the fundamental life phenomena. However, it is hard to get an integrated understanding of homeostasis because research in the fields of neurology, immunology, endocrinology, tissue repair, and stem cells is compartmentalized and complex, there are not adequate exchanges of information between these research fields, and the analytical methods, data utilizing technology and application of mathematical technology are still immature. An integrated understanding of homeostasis has thus been a problematic issue at the end of the 20th century.

In the 21st century, accumulation of genetic information in these two decades, advances in bioinformatics, and an increase in supercomputer performance open the way to simulation and modeling of a complex system like homeostasis.

In order to maintain homeostasis and protect the body from stress or diseases, the nervous and vascular systems are distributed throughout the body to form systemic structural networks. Through the vascular network, signal molecules (hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokines)and immunocytes are transported throughout the body to form local functional networks. We call such systemic structural networks and local functional networks "Networks of Networks."

Dynamic changes in homeostasis occur with time, through the life stages of development, birth, growth and aging. The homeodynamic "networks of networks" are spread throughout the body space. This initiative proposes that integrated homeodynamic research will provide a novel spatiotemporal understanding of homeostasis.

For the understanding and control of homeodynamic "networks of networks," the research involved in this initiative is as follows.
1. Understanding of the homeodynamic mechanism
- 1)Quantitative study of stress, stimulation and the reaction of the body
- 2)Modeling study based on the quantitative study
- 3)Experimental study of the model
2. Logical research for control of the homeodynamic research
3. Translational research for the application of medical treatment

Since both the biologist handling a wet specimen and the informatician handling dry data join forces and cooperate to perform this research, the ideal interdisciplinary organization of the researchers is that of a team, and the results of the research must be shared in the team to make or test hypotheses. The research manager of the teams shares the aim of an integrated understanding of homeodynamics by the team leaders, helps the teams cooperate, and manages the research centrally. The research manager needs strong leadership to conduct such interdisciplinary research.

The promotion of this initiative relies on the integration of fundamental and computational biology, and thus opens a unique new and unexplored research area. Since most diseases are the result of the disruption of homeostasis, an understanding of the disruptive features will lead the way towards a healthy life through the respective life stages of development, growth, and aging. The eventual goal of this study is therefore a "calm mind," "healthy growth" and "healthy aging." On the way towards the goal, the integration of homeodynamic research will introduce novel understanding for the view of life, and the application of research will contribute to the prevention and treatment of diseases, combination of medicine and safe medications.