Modelling success stories in systems biology

I am continuously asked examples of success stories, where computational modelling (Systems Biology like) brought new insights for understanding life. Those are actually the more pleasant situations. More often, someone in the assistance claims with assurance that modelling never actually brought any new insight to biology (and therefore we should stick to experiments and use our senses rather than theory). I moved through various phases on how to react, from fits of rage to silent contempt, via lengthy arguments. Then I started to collect lists of models to present during my presentations. Recently, collecting success stories became a deliverable of the preparatory phase of ISBE (Infrastructure for Systems Biology Europe). In this blog post, I will select a few of the most famous and non-disputable examples, and give my take on what they brought to our understanding of the world. I will add new models at my own rhythm, which is – as you well know – on the low side. You are most welcome to suggest your most favourite models for addition. Note that I will only highlight a few models. A longer list of commented models can be found in the “model of the month” from BioModels Database.