Courses in systems biology span the basic through advanced levels. In addition to dedicated systems biology graduate programs, courses can also be found in interdisciplinary undergraduate degree programs that incorporate the fields of biology, engineering, computer science, physics and mathematics.
Some universities have departments dedicated to chemical and systems biology, computational and systems biology, or systems biology and transitional medicine. Such departments usually offer an opportunity for research in a variety of areas, such as cell cycle regulation, protein homeostasis, and cell differentiation to name a few.
Here is an outline of common concepts taught in systems biology courses:
- Cellular modeling
- Computational techniques
- Cellular evolvability
- Developmental gene regulation
List of Common Courses
Introduction to Systems Biology Course
Offered in both undergraduate and graduate programs, this course is usually scheduled early in a program. Students may need to complete this class before continuing in systems biology studies. Course topics often pair basic elements of systems biology with computational methods, preparing students to use such methodologies in their examinations of biological sequences and structures on both cellular and molecular levels.
Cell Biology Course
Undergraduate classes usually introduce students to the components, structure and function of cells. Graduate courses assume a basic knowledge of cellular structure, biochemistry and genetics, often focusing on the current literature and ongoing research in the cellular and molecular biology fields as they relate to systems biology.
Cell Signaling Course
Due to its specialized focus, this course is typically included in graduate-level programs only. Topics covered in this course may be introduced in a cell biology course. These courses usually use computational models to examine the effects of cell signaling in relation to cell growth and differentiation in both healthy and diseased cells. Students examine cellular responses through biochemical, medicinal and genetic methods.
Molecular Biology Course
This course can be included in both graduate and undergraduate programs. It uses computer modeling in experiment and data analysis related to molecular processes. Topics can include genetic recombination, DNA replication and gene regulation. Students identify chromosomal and genetic structuring in unicellular and multicellular organisms.
This course teaches theoretical and experimental basics of genetic analysis on both the undergraduate and graduate level. As part of its practicum, this course can include both genetic problem sets as well as lectures. Topics usually address principles of trait inheritance, neurogenetics and the study of the human genome.