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One of the defining features of living organisms is their astonishing complexity. Even seemingly simple single cell organisms such as microbes display exceedingly complex behaviors, determined by intricate molecular networks in which large numbers of molecular components, pathways and chemical reactions act together. These behaviors have fascinated scientists for decades and include development, response to pathogenic and environmental insults and interactions with other organisms. Understanding how complexity of living systems arises and coordinates cellular function and pathologies continues to be one of the principal goals of biomedical research today.


The Department of Systems Biology (DSB) studies how biological complexity can be derived and understood from the interplay between individual components and processes that combine to make up living organisms.


The department brings together an enthusiastic and highly collaborative group of scientists that employ an array of experimental and computational approaches to study a variety of biological systems. Research in the program ranges from quantitative studies of properties of single cells to analyses of complex phenotypes of animals, and leverages the latest technological developments in the areas of molecular biology, genomics, high-content imaging, quantitative modeling, computer science and bioinformatics. The commonality of all research in the program is the integration of high-throughput experimentation and quantitative data analyses to study how biological systems behave, respond, adapt and evolve. Disease states are increasingly considered to be caused not by a singular biochemical alteration, but instead are viewed as the result of wider disruptions of the complex interplay between the many molecular components and processes that make up the human body. Researchers in the program aim to unravel how systems go awry in a variety of pathologies and how systems can be perturbed to mitigate disease.

Latest News


 

Congratulations to Job Dekker on his induction into the National Academy of Medicine on October 14, 2022. Please watch the short video below to see him receive this honor!

Marian and Job
Marian and Job
 

Two new Research Technicians have joined The Watson Lab. Please welcome Rayna Magesh and Abdulrazak Frederick to the DSB. Click here to learn more about them.

 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Emma Watson as the Newest Faculty Member

September 26, 2022

Emma Watson, PhD
Emma Watson, PhD

Cancer Chromosome Genetics
What are the functional consequences of chromosomal abnormalities in cancer? Over 90% of tumors are aneuploid, with ploidy ranges from sub-2N to more than 4N. Moreover, tumor-associated chromosomal abnormalities are tissue-specific and often highly recurrent. 

 

Marian Walhout, PhD, was Awarded the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Scholarship

September 15, 2022

By Pat Sargent
UMass Chan Medical School Communications
 
The 2022 Chancellor’s medal recipients with Chancellor Collins. Left to right are Ira Ockene, MD; Marian Walhout, PhD; Collins; Melissa Fischer, MD; and Deborah DeMarco, MD.
The 2022 Chancellor’s medal recipients with Chancellor Collins. Left to right are Ira Ockene, MD; Marian Walhout, PhD; Collins; Melissa Fischer, MD; and Deborah DeMarco, MD.

Marian Walhout, PhD, the Maroun Semaan Chair in Biomedical Research and chair and professor of systems biology, was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship.

Collins said Dr. Walhout is “known as a most respected member of our scientific community, as a dedicated mentor and an inspiring role model for women in science.”

This is most fitting for one who has made such a major impact on science and our community,” Collins said.

»Read More

 

Congratulations to Elizabeth Shank

September 16, 2022

Elizabeth Shank, PhD
Elizabeth Shank, PhD

Congratulations to Elizabeth Shank, PhD, for receiving a MIRA award titled “Investigating the molecules and mechanisms of bacterial cell-cell interactions". 

 

Congratulations to Job Dekker

August 08, 2022

dekker-job-330.jpg
Job Dekker, PhD

Congratulations to Job Dekker, PhD, for receiving a supplement to his NIH UM1 project titled “4D nucleome studies in a mouse progeria early-onset aging model before and after somatic genetic correction in tissues and cells.” 

This is a joint project with another UM1 investigator, Dr. Robert Goldman of Northwestern as well as the Somatic Genome Editing Consortium (Dr. David Liu, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT & Dr. Francis Collins, NIH) and the Cellular Senescence Network (Dr. Nicola Neretti, Brown University & Dr. Jian Ma, Carnegie Mellon Institute)

 
 

Congratulations to Hyun Youk 

August 01, 2022

Hyun Youk, PhD
Hyun Youk, PhD

Congratulations to Hyun Youk, PhD for a new NIH MIRA Award: "Dynamics in Eukaryotic Dormancy: Gene Expression and Aging". 

 

The Mitchell Lab Welcomes Jacob Furman as an Intern

July 25, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Alyxandra Starbard to the Walhout lab as a Research Lab Tech

June, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Elodie Killick to the Brewster Lab as an Undergraduate Intern 

 

Congratulations to Amir Mitchell, PhD on Receiving a new RO1 Award:

“Mechanisms underlying bacterial sensitivity to host-targeted drugs” from the NIH National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases.

June, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Nezar Abdennur, PhD

June, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Juliet Bolduc to the Walhout lab as an Undergraduate Intern

May, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes Daniel Richards to the Walhout Lab as a Research Associate 

May, 2022
 

The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes a Scientific Writer, Caryn Navarro

May, 2022
 

Job Dekker elected to National Academy of Sciences

By Colleen Locke
UMass Chan Medical School Communications

May 04, 2022

dekker-job-330.jpg
Job Dekker, PhD
UMass Chan Medical School scientist Job Dekker, PhD, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3 for his contributions to the field of genomics.
Dr. Dekker, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Joseph J. Byrne Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and systems biology, is one of 120 newly elected members.
 
 

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