Division Leader: J. Tyson
Program Manager: N. Sullivan
Principle Faculty: W. Baumann, D. Bevan, Y. Cao, S. Ciupe, R. Jensen, I. Lazar, L. Li, T. E. Long, W. Mather, and T.M. Murali
The Systems Biology program is a joint effort of the departments of Biological Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science. The program resides in, and is organized as a division of, the College of Science's Academy of Integrated Science.
A "systems approach" to biology involves the study of the biological, chemical, and physical processes within living organisms as they interact in complex ways to produce life-supporting behaviors. The Virginia Tech program in Systems Biology focuses on the powerful, emerging paradigm of molecular systems biology, i.e., on computational, systems-level approaches that connect the biochemical and genetic properties of individual macromolecules (DNA, RNA, protein, lipids, polysaccharides) with the physiological behavior of living cells and tissues. These levels of biological organization, which comprise the gap between interacting macromolecules and cell physiology, embody an active area of research producing technological and biomedical innovations. The Systems Biology program bridges the molecular/cell divide, training students for employment or graduate education in this burgeoning field.
Bachelor of Science in Systems Biology
All Systems Biology majors are required to own specified personal computers and software. Consult the division for details.
A special brochure describing the division and the B.S. program in Neuroscience is available from the division's webpage or upon request.
The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as "Checksheets". The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.
The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation/checksheets/index.html for degree requirements.
University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see "Academics") and toward the degree.
Satisfactory progress requirements toward the B.S. in Systems Biology can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation/checksheets/index.html.
Undergraduate Course Descriptions (SYSB)
2025-2026: INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
Introduction to the fundamental ideas and methods of systems biology by a series of case studies. Applications of statistical methods and computer simulation. 2025: Genome analysis, molecular network architecture, dynamical systems. 2026: Molecular regulatory systems, metabolic pathways, data mining. Pre: ISC 1106 or (BIOL 1105, CHEM 1036, MATH 1206) for 2025; 2025 for 2026. (3H,3L,3C)
2984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
3035-3036: SYSTEMS BIOLOGY OF GENES AND PROTEINS
Experimental techniques in genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics. Mathematical, statistical, and computational models and methods to analyze these data. Techniques for integrating data from different experiments. Case studies and specific applications in molecular biology, including cancer and infectious diseases. 3035: genomics, transriptomics. 3036: proteomics, interactomics, data integration. Pre: 2026. (3H,3L,4C)
3115-3116: NETWORK DYNAMICS AND CELL PHYSIOLOGY
In-depth study of how molecular regulatory networks determine the physiological properties of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. 3115: Biochemical reaction networks, nonlinear dynamical systems, parameter estimation, bifurcation theory, switches and oscillators, gene regulatory networks, signaling pathways, metabolic networks, neural networks, applications. 3116: Stochastic effects, cell cycle and cancer, spatial effects, motility, development, tissue dynamics, applications. Pre: 2026 for 3115; 3115 for 3116. (3H,3L,4C)
4065-4066: RESEARCH EXPERIENCE IN SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
Training and practical experience in the conduct of systems biology research. 4065: Planning a research project and initial execution. 4066: Refine, complete, and document projects results. Pre: 3036, 3116 for 4065; 4065 for 4066. Co: 4135 for 4065; 4136 for 4066. (4H,4C)
4135-4136: PROFESSIONALISM IN SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
Training and practical experience in ethical standards of science. 4135: Systems biology, proposal writing, ethical issues, the impact of systems biology on national and global issues, career options. 4136: Oral and written presentations, management and social issues, current literature and developments in systems biology. Pre: 3036, 3116 for 4135; 4135 for 4136. Co: 4065 for 4135; 4066 for 4136. (2H,2C)
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.