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PLoS Comput Biol. 2019 Apr 26;15(4):e1006631. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006631. eCollection 2019 Apr.

A Bayesian framework for the analysis of systems biology models of the brain.

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Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Systems biology models are used to understand complex biological and physiological systems. Interpretation of these models is an important part of developing this understanding. These models are often fit to experimental data in order to understand how the system has produced various phenomena or behaviour that are seen in the data. In this paper, we have outlined a framework that can be used to perform Bayesian analysis of complex systems biology models. In particular, we have focussed on analysing a systems biology of the brain using both simulated and measured data. By using a combination of sensitivity analysis and approximate Bayesian computation, we have shown that it is possible to obtain distributions of parameters that can better guard against misinterpretation of results, as compared to a maximum likelihood estimate based approach. This is done through analysis of simulated and experimental data. NIRS measurements were simulated using the same simulated systemic input data for the model in a 'healthy' and 'impaired' state. By analysing both of these datasets, we show that different parameter spaces can be distinguished and compared between different physiological states or conditions. Finally, we analyse experimental data using the new Bayesian framework and the previous maximum likelihood estimate approach, showing that the Bayesian approach provides a more complete understanding of the parameter space.

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