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Interface Focus. 2016 Apr 6;6(2):20150103. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2015.0103.

The Human Physiome: how standards, software and innovative service infrastructures are providing the building blocks to make it achievable.

Author information

Auckland Bioengineering Institute , The University of Auckland , Auckland , New Zealand.
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London NW1 2DA, UK.
Interdisciplinary Bank of Biomaterials and Data , University Hospital Würzburg , Würzburg , Germany.
School of Computer Science , University of Manchester , Manchester , UK.
Research Center Plant Genomics and Systems Biology, Universitat Potsdam , Potsdam , Germany.
German Institute for Standardization , Berlin , Germany.
Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS gGmbH) , Heidelberg , Germany.
LifeGlimmer GmbH , Berlin , Germany.
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Reconstructing and understanding the Human Physiome virtually is a complex mathematical problem, and a highly demanding computational challenge. Mathematical models spanning from the molecular level through to whole populations of individuals must be integrated, then personalized. This requires interoperability with multiple disparate and geographically separated data sources, and myriad computational software tools. Extracting and producing knowledge from such sources, even when the databases and software are readily available, is a challenging task. Despite the difficulties, researchers must frequently perform these tasks so that available knowledge can be continually integrated into the common framework required to realize the Human Physiome. Software and infrastructures that support the communities that generate these, together with their underlying standards to format, describe and interlink the corresponding data and computer models, are pivotal to the Human Physiome being realized. They provide the foundations for integrating, exchanging and re-using data and models efficiently, and correctly, while also supporting the dissemination of growing knowledge in these forms. In this paper, we explore the standards, software tooling, repositories and infrastructures that support this work, and detail what makes them vital to realizing the Human Physiome.


Human Physiome; managing big data; repositories; reproducible science; service infrastructure; standards

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