Systems Biology

People | Seminars

Systems Biology seeks to understand how the parts of biological systems are integrated to produce the amazing machines, cells, organisms, and ecosystems that exist in our world. We thus seek to define general principles of biological systems. Part of understanding biological systems involves defining the relevant parts of a biological network and measuring how they change in a quantitative and comprehensive fashion as they carry out their functions; such network biology studies use the tools of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Since biological circuits underlie most aspects of cell and organismal biology, we seek to understand "mechanisms," the precise structures and interactions of biological parts—be they genes, cells or organisms—that ultimately produce biological function. Systems Biology often involves computational modeling of potential mechanisms, coupled with quantitative tests of the predictions of models by cell biological, molecular biological, and biophysical techniques.

Circuit Biology

(Cai, Doyle, Elowitz, Goentoro, Gradinaru, Kennedy, Lois, Murray, Phillips)

Biological circuits underlie most aspects of cell and organismal biology. Circuit biology seeks to understand "mechanisms," the precise structures and interactions of biological parts—be they genes, cells or organisms—that ultimately produce biological function. Circuit biology often involves computational modeling of potential mechanisms, coupled with quantitative tests of the predictions of models by cell biological, molecular biological, and biophysical techniques.

Molecular Programming and Synthetic Biology

(Aravin, ArnoldElowitzGradinaru, Hay, Ismagilov, Lois, MayoMurray, PiercePhillips, Qian, Rothemund, Shapiro, TirrellWinfree)

Knowledge of biological parts, circuits, and networks allows us to build or alter existing biological molecules, macromolecular complexes, and circuits. This synthetic approach not only tests our knowledge but also has many practical implications

Network Biology, Genomics, and Computational Biology

(Aravin, DeshaiesGuttman, Kennedy, Lois, Sternberg, Wold)

Part of understanding biological systems involves defining the relevant parts and measuring how they change in a quantitative and comprehensive fashion as they carry out their functions. This task is the domain of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, functional genomics, and bioinformatics, among other disciplines.

Systems Development Biology

(Bronner, Cai, Davidson, Elowitz, Goentoro, Lois, Meyerowitz, Rothenberg, Stathopoulos)

One particularly stunning feature of organisms is their ability to develop from a single fertilized egg; thus, Systems Developmental Biology is an important theme of our program. This theme involves the study of developing organisms by a wide variety of molecular, cellular, and genomic techniques.