Division Leader: I. Lazar
Program Manager: C. Conley
Principle Faculty: F. Aylward, A. Banerjee, W. Baumann, A. M. Brown, Y. Cao, J. Chen, L. Childs, M. Chung, D. Cimini, S. Ciupe, S. Hauf, R. Jensen, P. Kraikivski, L. Li, 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.
The graduation requirements in effect during the academic year of admission to Virginia Tech apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year you started at Virginia Tech. 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.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.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 or Pathways to General Education) (see "Academic Policies") 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 https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html for requirements toward a minor in Systems Biology.
2024: FUNDAMENTALS OF SYSTEMS BIOLOGY Introduction to fundamental concepts of systems biology: biological systems, molecular regulatory networks, modeling approaches in systems biology with case studies, high-throughput data generation and bioinformatics data processing. Pre: MATH 1226, (BIOL 1105 or ISC 1106H), (CHEM 1036 or CHEM 1056 or CHEM 1056H or IS C 1106H). (3H,3C)
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 ISC 1106H) or (BIOL 1105, CHEM 1036, MATH 1026) or (BIOL 1105, CHEM 1036, MATH 1226) for 2025; ISC 1106 or (BIOL 1105, CHEM 1036, MATH 1026) or (BIOL 11 05, CHEM 1036, MATH 1226) for 2026. (3H,3C)
2034: MATHEMATICAL METHODS IN SYSTEMS BIOLOGY Fundamental mathematical methods in systems biology, including differential equations, graph theory, Boolean mathematics, and concepts of probability. Applications of these methods to developing models of biological regulatory networks and dynamical systems. Software tools for Systems Biology. Pre: 2024, MATH 1226, (MATH 1114 or MATH 2114 or MATH 2114H or ISC 2105), (CS 1064 or CS 1114). (3H,3C)
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.
3035-3036: GENOMICS AND BIOINFORMATICS Bioinformatic approaches in omics, namely genomics and transcriptomics. 3035: Genomic architecture and evolution. Gene expression and post-translational regulation. Structure and function of genes and other genetic elements. Experimental techniques for generating genomic and transcriptomic data. 3036: Statistical, evolutionary, and computational models and methods to analyze omics data. Techniques for visualization and biological interpretation of omics data derived from experiments. Application of Python and R to bioinformatics. Case studies and specific applications in molecular biology, including comparative genomics, cancer, and infectious diseases. Pre: BIOL 2004 for 3035; 3035 for 3036. (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: 2034 for 3115; 3115 for 3116. (3H,3L,4C)
4024: CAREERS AND PROFESSIONALISM IN SYSTEMS BIOLOGY Career planning, interviewing skills, and training in written and oral communication in systems biology. Critical evaluation of research, effective communication of scientific results, ethical standards in science, societal trends. Pre: 3036, 3116. Co: 4065. (2H,2C)
4065-4066: RESEARCH EXPERIENCE IN SYSTEMS BIOLOGY Training and practical experience in the conduct of systems biology research. 4065: Plan a research project, develop a research hypothesis, and perform preliminary testing and analysis. 4066: Execute, refine, complete, and document the projects results. Pre: 3036, 3116 for 4065; 4065 for 4066. Co: 4135 for 4065; 4136 for 4066. (2H,2C)
4114: APPLIED MODELS OF GENE REGULATORY NETWORKS Dynamic modeling of gene regulatory networks. Gene regulatory networks with oscillatory and switch-like dynamic behavior. Design of synthetic genetic switches and oscillators. Modeling gene regulation controlling cell fate, cell differentiation, cell-to-cell communication, synchronization and developmental processes. Real-world research problems and applications. Pre: 2034, 3116. (3H,3C)
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.