O'Really?

August 17, 2012

What is the collective noun for a group of Systems Biologists?

From helix to hairball

According to Arthur Lander, “hairball” networks like the one of human proteins above, are the new icon of biology, taking over from the famous double-helix. Image originally published in BMC Biology [1].

What happened was, I was looking for a creatively commons licensed picture of Pedro Mendes to upload to commons.wikimedia.org. Not the footballing Pedro Mendes who played for Rangers, Spurs, Pompey and Porto but the systems biologist Pedro Mendes who plays for Virginia Tech and Manchester. Thankfully, another systems biologist, Michael Hucka kindly pointed to his impressive collection of pictures, taken at various events over the years which include some shots of Pedro. Looking at these pictures made me idly wonder: What is the collective noun for a group of systems biologists?

Systems biology is the study networks of various kinds [2,3] so it’s ripe for a collective noun, and there were several suggested on twitter. Since twitter has recently developed a nasty habit of disappearing tweets, here is a collection gathered and preserved for posterity from the twitterome*:

A jamboree of systems biologists?

Tom Williamson and Mike Hucka initially plumped for a Jamboree of systems biologists:

A loop or an ome of systems biologists?

Mike Hucka and Nathan Pearson voted for a Loop or an Ome of systems biologists:

A cluster of systems biologists?

Then again, maybe it should be a cluster of biologists?

A network of systems biologists?

Douglas Kell reckoned on a network of systems biologists:

A system of systems biologists?

Ewan Birney thought it had be be a system:

So there you have it, according to the twitterome, the collective noun for a group of systems biologists is a system, network, cluster, ome, jamboree or loop (delete as appropriate). No doubt there are many more, that’s what twitter hashtags are for, #SysBiologists.

References

  1. Arthur D. Lander (2010). The edges of understanding, BMC Biology, 8 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-8-40
  2. Hiroaki Kitano (2002). Systems Biology: A Brief Overview, Science, 295 (5560) 1664. DOI: 10.1126/science.1069492
  3. Trey Ideker, Timothy Galitski & Leroy Hood (2001). Systems Biology: A new approach to decoding life, Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, 2 (1) 372. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genom.2.1.343

* That’s another #badomics award for Jonathan Eisen’s growing collection…don’t blame me, blame Leonid Kruglyak

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: