Lectures and seminars

What is life? a twenty-first century answer to Schrodinger's question

2014-02-2015:00 Jacob Berzelius (Adam), Berzelius väg 3, KI Campus Campus Solna

Speaker: Denis Noble, Balliol College and Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Oxford, UK


Organisms have been found to be remarkably well-buffered against genomic variations. Important functions like cardiac and circadian rhythms have multiple back-ups, while 80% of knockouts in yeast are silent in normal physiological conditions. The lecture will explore the implications, including a radical revision of evolutionary biology to allow for epigenetic inheritance, natural genetic engineering and non-random (functional) genetic variations. It will also re-examine the concept of a gene, and the more general social implications of the new way of viewing the relations between genotypes and phenotypes.

Noble D (2006) The Music of Life. OUP

Noble D (2011). Neo-Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis, and selsh genes: are they of use in physiology?Journal of Physiology 589, 1007-1015


Denis Noble is a British biologist who held the Burdon Sanderson Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology at Oxford University from 1984 to 2004 and was appointed Professor Emeritus and co-Director of Computational Physiology. He is one of the pioneers of Systems Biology and developed the first viable mathematical model of the working heart in 1960. His research focuses on using computer models of biological organs and organ systems to interpret function from the molecular level to the whole organism. Together with international collaborators, his team has used supercomputers to create the first virtual organ, the virtual heart.

Host: Peter Århem