The Tufts University Biological Resilience Integration Institute seeks to develop a common language to describe patterns, processes, and mechanisms of resilience across all scales of biology. Our research and training will focus on the three areas described below.
Models/Metrics: At all levels of biological organization, researchers are creating and evaluating resilience metrics that are system specific. With few exceptions (e.g., rate of recovery), there is little apparent overlap in the use of metrics. This could be because each field of biology at each level of organization has problems and solutions that are unique to the system. Developing and deploying universal metrics of resilience is a largely unresolved issue in resilience studies.
Mechanisms: When a system is perturbed, what biological components or processes are necessary to return the system to its original state? Do similar mechanisms control resilience from cellular to community scales?
Applications: One promise of understanding mechanisms of resilience in biological systems is that it will provide the necessary understanding to engineer or manage resilience in cellular, organismal, and ecological systems. From supply networks to electronics, resilience is often engineered and managed in human systems. Resilience could also be engineered into biological systems used in agriculture, medicine, and industry. In natural systems, management of biological resilience could help with preserving at risk populations or communities.