Sep 19th 2016

Introduction to Systems Biology (Coursera)

Taught by:

This course will introduce the student to contemporary Systems Biology focused on mammalian cells, their constituents and their functions. Biology is moving from molecular to modular. As our knowledge of our genome and gene expression deepens and we develop lists of molecules (proteins, lipids, ions) involved in cellular processes, we need to understand how these molecules interact with each other to form modules that act as discrete functional systems. These systems underlie core subcellular processes such as signal transduction, transcription, motility and electrical excitability. In turn these processes come together to exhibit cellular behaviors such as secretion, proliferation and action potentials.

What are the properties of such subcellular and cellular systems? What are the mechanisms by which emergent behaviors of systems arise? What types of experiments inform systems-level thinking? Why do we need computation and simulations to understand these systems?

The course will develop multiple lines of reasoning to answer the questions listed above. Two major reasoning threads are: the design, execution and interpretation of multivariable experiments that produce large data sets; quantitative reasoning, models and simulations. Examples will be discussed to demonstrate “how” cell- level functions arise and “why” mechanistic knowledge allows us to predict cellular behaviors leading to disease states and drug responses.

Introduction to Systems Biology is course 1 of 6 in the Systems Biology and Biotechnology Specialisation.

Design systems-level experiments using appropriate cutting edge techniques, collect big data, and analyze and interpret small and big data sets quantitatively. The Systems Biology Specialization covers the concepts and methodologies used in systems-level analysis of biomedical systems. Successful participants will learn how to use experimental, computational and mathematical methods in systems biology and how to design practical systems-level frameworks to address questions in a variety of biomedical fields. In the final Capstone Project, students will apply the methods they learned in five courses of specialization to work on a research project.