Oscillating Life At the Heart of Life Rhythms Publication date : October 28, 2010
Albert Goldbeter is a professor in the science faculty of the Free University of Brussels. He is currently the science-class director for the Belgian Royal Academy. Trained in the group headed by Ilya Prigogine (1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Goldbeter is an internationally recognised specialist in life-rhythm mechanisms and a pioneer in the burgeoning research area of systems biology. He recently received the five-yearly Prize of the National Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS).
He is the author of Rythmes et chaos dans les systèmes biochimiques et cellulaires (Masson, 1990).
Heartbeat, breathing, alternating periods of waking and sleeping, the ovarian cycle, animal migration, plant flowering: life is rhythm. Numerous other periodic processes are engaged in cell life, often imperceptibly. For example, a biological clock controls the cycles of cellular division, from the earliest embryonic phases to the adult organism. Brain activity is underpinned by neuronal rhythms, and many hormones are secreted in a pulsatile manner.
Among the many rhythms that regulate organisms and their physiology, some are linked to the environment: circadian rhythms, which roughly follow a 24-hour pattern, allow us to adapt to alternating night-and-day cycles; other rhythms are linked to the yearly seasonal cycle: flowering, hibernation, migrations, and reproduction in numerous species. Life rhythms can vary from a fraction of a second to several decades.
Where do these multiple rhythms come from? What functions do they serve? Why are periodic phenomena so common among biological systems?
This book aims to present the main life rhythms and to delve into the heart of the underlying regulatory mechanisms.
• A thorough review of all the mechanisms that regulate the principal life rhythms. In a jargon-free style this book examines the origin of various types of oscillation and shows what unites them, beyond their specific mechanisms.
• This book offers the first synthesis of existing knowledge on the rhythms of life, as observed at different levels of biological organisation. Based on experiential data and on modelling techniques, the author highlights the origin and dynamic rhythms that constitute an essential aspect of existence: oscillating life.