Opportunities and Challenges in Building a Spatiotemporal Multi-scale Model of the Human Pancreatic β Cell

Cell. 2018 Mar 22;173(1):11-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.014.


The construction of a predictive model of an entire eukaryotic cell that describes its dynamic structure from atomic to cellular scales is a grand challenge at the intersection of biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science. Having such a model will open new dimensions in biological research and accelerate healthcare advancements. Developing the necessary experimental and modeling methods presents abundant opportunities for a community effort to realize this goal. Here, we present a vision for creation of a spatiotemporal multi-scale model of the pancreatic β-cell, a relevant target for understanding and modulating the pathogenesis of diabetes.

Keywords: Whole-cell modeling; convergent bioscience; data-driven modeling; diabetes; integrative modeling; modeling of dynamics; multi-scale modeling; pancreatic β–cells; structure modeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins