The Big Picture for Cell Biology Is Global, Says Satyajit Mayor

Satyajit Mayor. Photo by Eric Kornblum,

Satyajit Mayor. Photo by Eric Kornblum,

Cell biology is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and international, writes Satyajit Mayor, professor at the National Centre for Biological Science in Bangalore, India, and a longtime ASCB member, in the current issue of Journal of Cell Biology. While U.S. funds for basic science are shrinking, Mayor points out that China, India, and Brazil are expanding expenditures for scientific research. By 2025, Mayor writes, “This investment will rival the volume of combined bioscience activity in America and Europe.”

Beyond mere geography, cell biology is constantly moving into new scientific territory because it draws on other branches of science, and must be studied in the context of organisms and environments. Cell biology, Mayor writes, “has moved beyond molecular and mechanistic reductionism, and instead a truly interdisciplinary outlook is emerging.”

He continues, “Cell biology today positions itself at the interface of physics (soft matter, statistical physics, and complex system), chemistry (physical, synthetic, and analytical chemistry and nano-materials), mathematics (computational methodology to aid explanations based on multiscale simulations, and dynamic systems), engineering (constructivist approaches), and of course genetics and contingent explanations from evolutionary history. The contributions of these disciplines are necessary for a sophisticated understanding of the fundamental unit of a living system.

See the future of cell biology through Mayor’s eyes here.

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