Luís A. Nunes Amaral

co-Director, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Professor of Physics & Astronomy (by courtesy)
Professor of Medicine (by courtesy)

Chemical & Biological Engineering
2145 Sheridan Road (Room E136)
EvanstonIL 60208US
Phone: (847) 491-7850


The difficulty in annotating the vast amounts of biological information poses one of the greatest current challenges in biological research. The number of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic datasets has increased dramatically over the last two decades, far outstripping the pace of curation efforts. Here, we tackle the challenge of curating metabolic network reconstructions. We predict organismal metabolic networks using sequence homology and a global metabolic network constructed from all available organismal networks. While sequence homology has been a standard to annotate metabolic networks it has been faulted for its lack of predictive power. We show, however, that when homology is used with a global metabolic network one is able to predict organismal metabolic networks that have enhanced network connectivity. Additionally, we compare the annotation behavior of current database curation efforts with our predictions and find that curation efforts are biased towards adding (rather than removing) reactions to organismal networks.