In this article, we provide a case study examining how integrative systems biologists build simulation models in the absence of a theoretical base. Lacking theoretical starting points, integrative systems biology researchers rely cognitively on the model-building process to disentangle and understand complex biochemical systems. They build simulations from the ground up in a nest-like fashion, by pulling together information and techniques from a variety of possible sources and experimenting with different structures in order to discover a stable, robust result. Finally, we analyze the alternative role and meaning theory has in systems biology expressed as canonical template theories like Biochemical Systems Theory.
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