Eberhard O. Voit, Ph.D.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Modern biological research generates enormous amounts of data. Eberhard Voit turns these data into meaningful information and knowledge.
When a scientist studies how a cell or a biological system changes over time, or how it interacts with other biological components, he or she may collect millions of data points reflecting the incremental changes in thousands of entities in the sample.
Voit designs computational systems that can analyze these astounding numbers of data points and determine what rules or principles underlie the biological behavior. Ultimately, his analysis yields predictions of how biological systems will react in not-yet tested scenarios. That information can lead to advances in medicine, biotechnology and environmental health.
Voit’s work is the scaffolding on which other studies can be built. His current collaborations include an NIH-funded study of how malaria pathogens affect blood cells and the immune system in their animal and human hosts. He’s also exploring issues of biofuel production and investigates how pollution and other natural variations and human-induced changes affect microbes in our water supply.
Since 2013, Voit’s computational analysis has been supporting the efforts of an ambitious project at Emory University investigating the exposome – the sum total of everything a person is composed of and exposed to, from food and drinking water, to medications, to physical activity. The effort, known as HERCULES (Health and Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures), is the first nationally funded exposome-based research center in America.
HERCULES is expected to yield a deeper understanding of how the body responds to all that it’s exposed to. Without Voit’s tools for handling the massive collected data, the project would be impossible.
- Complex systems in biology and medicine
- Metabolic pathways and networks
- Multi-scale modeling
- Biochemical Systems Theory
- Systems of non-linear differential equations
“My research thrives on creative ideas from faculty and students in diverse branches of science, engineering, computing and medicine,” Voit says. “The joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory is a superb place for this type of cross-cutting, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary work.” Voit was further attracted by the opportunity to lead Georgia Tech’s efforts in systems biology.