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About the Program in Systems Biology

About the Program in Systems BiologyOne 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 systems in which large numbers of molecular components, pathways and chemical reactions act together. These behaviors include development, metabolism and response to signals and have fascinated scientists for decades. 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 Program in Systems Biology (PSB) 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 program brings together an enthusiastic and highly collaborative group of laboratories that employ an array of experimental approaches to study different biological systems. Research in the program ranges from quantitative studies of properties of single cells to analyses of complex phenotypes of metazoa, 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.

PSB started in the fall of 2011 and will grow to six independent research groups. The program maintains and continues to encourage collaborations between the member groups, as well as with other programs and departments across UMMS. The Program in Systems Biology is located in the Albert Sherman Center, a state-of-the-art research and education facility designed to promote collaboration and communication between cutting-edge research programs and to enhance graduate and medical education.