Summing up 2009, it must be said that it without a doubt has been the most important and expansive year so far, at least with respect to the systems biology part of the group.
Going into the year, there were only me (Gunnar), Cecilia “Ia” Brännmark, and two new students: Elin Nyman and Rikard Johansson. Then interesting and ambitious students appeared one-by-one, e.g., Robert Palmér, Fredrik Bäcklund during the spring/summer, Eva-Maria Hansson and Oscar Samuelsson during the early autumn, and Amanda Jonsson during the late autumn. This means that the group has more than doubled in size in a short period of time, and we have been in a very nice feeling of growth and “anything is possible” during the entire year. During this time we have spent quite some time to get a nice group feeling, creating our own home page, logga, name, and has also started to improve our internal communications through the adoption of the new and powerful google wave online communication tool. We had also to establish new routines for our internal meetings: we initiated weekly Monday meetings, and changed our joint supervision time where all students were present to entire supervision-days, all because of the rapid growth of the group.
2009 was also the year when TSRT17, our own course was launched. This is a project course that is held for 3rd years students at the Technical Biology program, and it will be held anually from now on. The project was done as a collaboration with the system identification/control engineering group at ISY (led by Torkel Glad and Lennart Ljung), and the MR-group led by Peter Lundberg. This course will be important for us to train and inspire students to be future project, MSc, and Ph.D. students in our group.
Another important event this year was to start the process of forming a systems biology center at Linköping University. We had a first meeting with all 15 groups, and have also combined these networking efforts with the participation in the formation of a national Wallenberg Institute for Systems Biology, and in various European network formations on systems biology of diabetes, several of which have been coordinated by us.
This important year will probably in many ways be remembered as the defining year of our group, and it is with great enthusiasm and anticipation that we move into the new year and into the new decade.