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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


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

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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