Closed-loop learning control of bio-networks

Jason Ku, Xiao Jiang Feng, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A general goal of systems biology is to acquire a detailed quantitative understanding of the life-sustaining interactions between genes and proteins. There arises an interesting question of whether these network dynamics can be controlled externally. In the open-loop approach to experimental biology, a control design would be chosen based on a desired target response and modeling with all the available knowledge about the system. If the system is not completely understood or disturbances occur, then unexpected deviations from the desired response can arise. A means to circumvent this difficulty is to optimize the controls in a closed-loop operation by modifying successive input controls based on the performance of previous controls. This paper presents a simulation of closed-loop learning control applied to biological systems in order to generate a desired response. The most powerful advantage of this technique is that the controls are deduced based on experimental results and the process can operate without a model for the underlying biochemical network. This feature eliminates the problem of faulty predictions as well as the need for a detailed understanding of the underlying molecular pathways, suggesting that biological systems can be controlled even before the post-systems biology era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-659
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Computational Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Bio-networks
  • Closed-loop learning control
  • Genetic algorithm
  • Optimal control
  • Systems biology


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