Biochemistry, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



2019 Authors


Hoke, K.L., Zimmer, S.L., Ondrechen, M.J., desGeorges, A., Roddy, A.B., Buan, N.R., Williamson, C.E. 2019. Reintegrating Biology Through the Nexus of Information and Energy. NSF Reintegrating Biology Jumpstart. DOI: 10.1042/ETLS20180031


Recent rapid advances in biology have led to diversification and sub-specialization of many fields, as well as a corresponding explosion of new findings. Advances in tools ranging from genomic techniques and high-resolution imaging to automated ecosystem- and biosphere-level sensors, along with correspondingly advanced analytics, have led to critical new insights that are transforming our understanding of biological systems. One of the consequences of these rapid advances has been accelerated splintering of biology into sub-disciplines with highly focused questions, vocabulary, and techniques. This splintering creates barriers to synergy across fields of biology and hinders the insights that could be gained at their interfaces, creating a compelling need to reintegrate biology. But how can this reintegration be accomplished? A common framework for effective communication across scales of understanding for biological systems is an essential aspect of “reintegration”. Here we propose that application of fundamental physical and information theory principles that cross all levels of biological organization would empower the reintegration of biology.