Reintegrating Biology Through the Nexus of Energy, Information, and Matter

Kim L. Hoke, Sara L. Zimmer, Adam B. Roddy, Mary Jo Ondrechen, Craig E. Williamson, Nicole R. Buan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Information, energy, and matter are fundamental properties of all levels of biological organization, and life emerges from the continuous flux of matter, energy, and information. This perspective piece defnes and explains each of the three pillars of this nexus. We propose that a quantitative characterization of the complex interconversions between matter, energy, and information that comprise this nexus will help us derive biological insights that connect phenomena across di?erent levels of biological organization. We articulate examples from multiple biological scales that highlight how this nexus approach leads to a more complete understanding of the biological system. Metrics of energy, information, and matter can provide a common currency that helps link phenomena across levels of biological organization. The propagation of energy and information through levels of biological organization can result in emergent properties and system-wide changes that impact other hierarchical levels. Deeper consideration of measured imbalances in energy, information, and matter can help researchers identify key factors that in?uence system function at one scale, highlighting avenues to link phenomena across levels of biological organization and develop predictive models of biological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2082-2094
Number of pages13
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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