Lab Equipment Blog Blog

Lab Equipment Blog

The Lab Equipment Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about clinical and research labware, environmental technology, test and metrology, and health and safety. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: Growing a Heart in a Petri Dish   Next in Blog: Set Your Sight on Portable 3D Imaging
Close
Close
Close
4 comments

Studying Disease with Virtual Rats

Posted September 13, 2011 10:32 AM

Considering the housing, feeding, and breeding — not to mention the moral issues involved in their use — lab rats can be a difficult aspect of running a research facility. But what if those rats are virtual? The future of animal research may lie in the hands of a Wisconsin computational biologist, who has created a project known as the "Virtual Physiological Rat." Using computer models of rat physiology will allow scientists to study how genes and environmental factors interact to cause disease. The project is a next step in systems biology, which integrates computer models with actual lab experiments to arrive at the same results as traditional methods.

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Lab Equipment, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Lab Equipment today.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
Engineering Fields - Aerospace Engineering - Member United States - Member - Army Vet in the aviation industry

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bridgewater, Va.
Posts: 2027
Good Answers: 112
#1

Re: Studying Disease with Virtual Rats

09/13/2011 11:16 PM

"not to mention the moral issues involved in their use"

I stopped reading right there!!

Hooker

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - DIY Welding - Wannabeabettawelda

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Posts: 7195
Good Answers: 416
#2

Re: Studying Disease with Virtual Rats

09/14/2011 12:32 PM

They're cute little rodents with big black eyes, long whiskers, and inquisitive noses. But they're still rats.

Ask any (seasoned) engineer, and they tell you that one test is worth a thousand simulations. Computer models and simulations have applications, to a point. Perhaps using computer models in an academic or teaching environment is appropriate, but for real research, I still vote for the real McCoy.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: North West England
Posts: 1170
Good Answers: 152
#3

Re: Studying Disease with Virtual Rats

09/14/2011 4:27 PM

It sounds good in theory but on reading the article, the professor so far has $13million of funding for a proposal to create a computer model over the next five years. There is no guarantee that he can produce the software, no guarantee that the software will work, and $13million sounds a pitifully small amount for the complexity of the task ahead of him.

Speculating on the future direction of animal research based on the facts is at the very least premature, and more in the realm science fiction than science fact.

Journalists producing this sort of pseudo science are a menace to society and should be held up to the ridicule that they deserve.

Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#4

Re: Studying Disease with Virtual Rats

09/14/2011 10:45 PM

Any test on a (virtual rat) must, of necessity, be only a virtual result, only duplicating that which is already known, and therefore, already included in the virtual model.

Now, certain probabilities could be studied, but only in a virtual environment, and therefore, necessarily, only achieving simulated results in a simulated environment.

Simplistically speaking, the real world environment will always have more "unknowns" than a virtual environment can have "knowns" and therefore a limited degree of virtual predictability...

The danger arises when human nature starts to insist that (science) has seemed to have progressed to the point there can be no more (surprises) when we will have set ourselves up to become the most surprised...

Virtual tests can mimic real test results, but they can't really become reality (except in the movies?...)

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 4 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Brave Sir Robin (1); Hooker (1); jhhassociates (1); MR. Guest (1)

Previous in Blog: Growing a Heart in a Petri Dish   Next in Blog: Set Your Sight on Portable 3D Imaging

Advertisement