Trey Ideker, 33
Defining and advancing systems biology
University of California, San Diego
As a graduate student, Trey Ideker published a paper that helped define the discipline of systems biology. His research goals today reflect those of the entire field: to integrate the myriad data that researchers can collect about a cell into coherent computer models. As an assistant professor of bioengineering, Ideker is not only improving these models but employing them in biological discovery. For instance, he is looking for protein networks uniquely present in pathogenic organisms; these could make good drug targets. He hopes that, ultimately, systems-derived models will let researchers simulate how potential drugs will affect the body -- long before the compounds are tested in humans.