Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences: Announcements <div id="custom-3"> <h3>FOREWORD</h3> <p><em>“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he is going”.</em> </p> <p>(Leonardo da Vinci)</p> <p style="text-indent: 40px;" align="justify">At the beginning of the 21st century, biology is facing an epistemological crisis which anticipates a paradigm change. Reductionism and the molecular analysis it favors have failed to bring about an understanding of complex phenomena in biology. This will require a reappraisal of old research concepts. The dominant view during the last fifty years has been that development is merely the unfolding of a genetic program.</p> <p style="text-indent: 40px;" align="justify">This perception is now being challenged by the resurgence of the once prominent fields of biological inquiry, namely, ecological and evolutionary developmental biology. However, these efforts remain few and far between because they are diluted by a sea of publications still based on reductionist interpretations. Meanwhile, there is no source explicitly committed to a perspective centered on organisms. Thus, there is a need for a journal dedicated to high quality theoretical and experimental work while promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the main topics in biology. We expect that “ORGANISMS” will fill this gap by addressing biological questions from perspectives different from the currently prevalent one.</p> <p style="text-indent: 40px;" align="justify">The philosopher Kant stated that in organisms "every part is thought as owing its presence to the agency of all the remaining parts, and also as existing for the sake of the others and of the whole". This conception of organisms is as central to biology today as it was when it inspired generations of embryologists, the ones invoked when referring to Müllerian ducts, germ layers, and notochord. From this perspective, the causal determination of biological phenomena is not exclusively bottom-up; the agency of each part implies a complex and reciprocal structure of determination. Research programs based on the ideas advanced by those who favored the molecular biology revolution have unintentionally shown that organisms cannot be analyzed only in terms of genes and molecules. This statement will not surprise physicists, because they do not intend to reduce one theory onto another, say classical or relativistic physics to quantum mechanics. Instead, they strive for unifications, that is, for a new theory encompassing two or more theoretical frames. And yet, mainstream biologists are still committed to uncovering the molecular mechanisms that according to reductionism will provide an explanation to every biological phenomenon. The technological improvements conceived to address mechanisms have generated an avalanche of data but biologists neither have the theoretical bases nor an adequate language to make sense of them, particularly when trying to explain the advent of new functions, the generation of shapes (morphogenesis), or the ability of the organism to create its own rules. We acknowledge that the language generated by the molecular biology revolution, namely the concepts of information, program, signal, is theoretically laden forcing causal analysis toward molecules supposed to carry information, such as genes and their products. This structure of determination is inimical to the study of organisms. Consequently, a change of theoretical frame will also require that biologists elaborate a different language, free of these connotations.</p> <p style="text-indent: 40px;" align="justify">Finally, this journal is neither married to a theory nor does it represent the view of a particular group. Its purpose is to encourage researchers to submit manuscripts that a) make explicit the postulates, principles and perspectives that form the conceptual framework of their research subjects, b) foster theoretical and experimental work in the vast field of biology, and c) promote the salutary effect of “friction” between theory and experiment.</p> </div> <div id="custom-4"> <h3>Ahead of Printing</h3> <p>Organisms publishes Ahead of Printing articles, that come online before they appear in a regular issue of the journal. Ahead of Printing articles are copy edited, typeset and approved by the author before being published.</p> <p>Each Ahead of Printing article has a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This should be included in all citations.</p> <p>Please, use this citation format:</p> <p><strong>Before the article has appeared in an issue</strong><br />Lazebnik, Y, 2018, “Who is Dr. Frankenstein? Or, what Professor Hayek and his friends have done to science”, Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences, Ahead of Printing (November 2018), DOI: 10.13133/2532-5876_XXX<br /><br /><br /></p> <p><strong>After the article has appeared in an issue</strong><br />Lazebnik, Y, 2018, “Who is Dr. Frankenstein? Or, what Professor Hayek and his friends have done to science”, Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences, Vol.2, No.2, pp. xx_xx, DOI: 10.13133/2532-5876_XXX</p> </div> en-US New Call Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences 2020-01-17 SPECIAL ISSUE Open Call for Submission – Deadline October 30, 2019 The first decade of the new millennium was referred to as the beginning of “the post-genomic era.” Its advent was greeted by the “establishment” in the biological sciences and by the pharmaceutical industry with the optimistic view that new technologies and the reductionist approaches that characterized the second half of the 20th century would (again) cure cancer, bring about personalized and precision medicine, and much more. Indeed, the excessive rhetoric and the promises, similar to those of Nixon’s War on Cancer, generated a significant wave of public criticism regarding the cost of the project itself, its likely minimal impact on prevention and the inequalities of access it would engender due to the high cost of the “personalized” therapies. In contrast, critiques of the philosophical stance and/or the theoretical commitments at the core of the biological research fueling this program have been far less numerous and few cogent theoretical alternatives to the one that has dominated biomedical research for the last 70 years have been proposed. Notwithstanding, some of the proposed alternatives suggest that there might be a light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. We think that for this light to grow brighter, in addition to spelling out the limitations of the status quo, novel alternatives need to be put forward and tested. This special issue offers the opportunity to address the shortcomings inherited from the molecular biology revolution and to present in some greater detail the theoretical alternatives alluded to above so they may be the object of criticisms and/or praise.<br />1. SYMPTOMS THAT SUGGEST A CRISIS IN BIOLOGY<br />A. Modern medicine is stuck in a rut.<br />B. The War on Cancer has been lost.<br />C. Pharmacological research is failing to produce effective drugs<br />D. Prevention is ignored.<br />E. The measures taken to fix the reproducibility crisis in the biomedical sciences have been ineffective.<br />2. IS SCIENCE AT LARGE FACING A CRISIS or is it only THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES THAT ARE FACING A CRISIS? IF SO, WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED?<br />A. Foundational problems regarding the conceptual framework?<br />B. Systemic problems regarding scientific policy, the structure /organization of academic research?<br />C. The power structure of biomedical research?<br />3. FOUNDATIONAL PROBLEMS: REDUCTIONIST VERSUS ORGANICISM<br />A. Do we need to be aware of Philosophy when working in Science?<br />B. Causation in biology (vs causation in physics)<br />C. The place of theory in biological research<br />D. Measurement in biology (vs measurement in physics)<br />E. The use of theory for mathematical modeling starts from biological relevant<br />principles. Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences 2019-07-22 Summer School in Theories in Biology, Development and Cancer <p>Sapienza University (Rome, Italy) <br />Academic year 2018/2019 <br />Department: Experimental Medicine <br />Faculty: Medicine and Dentistry <br />Call for admission to the Summer School in: <strong>Theories in Biology, Development and Cancer</strong>.</p><p><strong>10 CFU</strong></p><p>The application form, signed by the candidate and accompanied by the attachments, must be received no later than January 30th 2019.</p><div class="field field-name-field-obiettivi-formativi field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p align="LEFT">The School envisages the final release of a total of CFUs of 10 (250 hours total work for students, calculated as formal lectures and workout-discussion exercises). A certificate of attendance will be issued in the case of passing the final exam</p></div></div></div><p><strong><br /></strong></p><p> More information <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a></p><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><br /></strong></span></p> Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences 2019-02-10