Major Systems Biology
Main Issues / Concerns
The newly established Major Systems Biology is an integral part of the international Master Program in Molecular Biosciences at the University of Heidelberg.
Following the identification of the parts of biological systems, the interdisciplinary field of systems biology combines quantitative data generation and mathematical modeling to elucidate general principles governing emergent properties of complex systems that give rise to biological functions. Due to the non-linearity of relationships in biological networks it is not possible to deduce function from the properties of individual molecules but rather by considering the dynamic interplay of systems components. Major open questions are: How is information processed and linked to cell fate decisions? How is specificity achieved? Which parameters determine the robustness of biological systems? The approach of systems biology is fueled by tremendous advances in high-throughput data generation and in the analysis at the single cell level in combination with the development of suitable modeling tools. Systems biology facilitates the establishment of new paradigms and the identification of targets for efficient intervention. Thereby, it holds outstanding promise for biomedical research, which is a major topic in Heidelberg.
The Major Systems Biology covers fundamental topics in cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, infectious diseases, bioinformatics, computational analysis, network reconstruction and dynamic pathway as well as multi-scale modeling. In-depth training in multi-disciplinary approaches will be provided by lectures, tutorials and seminars that are accompanied by practical courses. Thereby, the Major Systems Biology uniquely prepares students for developing novel strategies to address key questions in biological systems.
The participating faculty members are investigators at centers with major emphasis on systems biology research such as BioQuant, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR). Furthermore, they participate in major systems biology funding initiatives including HepatoSys, SBCancer, CancerSys and several MedSys networks. In addition Heidelberg hosts one of the BMBF-funded FORSYS centers VIROQUANT that provides students with an extremely inspiring environment in multiple aspects of life sciences.