CGAB 501 Principles of Applied Biosciences: Systems Biology (3 Credits)

Prerequisite : CGET 501 Integrated Life Sciences or equivalent

Course Description:

Complex biological systems will be analyzed from the molecular, cellular, extracellular, organ and organism levels of hierarchy. Examples of processes to be studied include chemotaxis, growth factor-, cytokine- and hormone-mediated signaling cascades, signaling cascades leading to cell death in response to stress, and signaling at the transcriptional and translational levels. In each case, the availability of a resource, or the presence of a stimulus, will result in some biochemical pathways being turned on while others are turned off. It will be shown that cells and organisms use a small number of mechanistic themes and strategies to effectuate a myriad of functions ranging from avoidance of a toxicant to the triggering of programmed cell death. The course provides a chemical, biological and quantitative view of the interplay of multiple pathways as networks.

The course will mainly use lectures to impart knowledge and understanding of the aforementioned topics, complemented by a class project. The course has no text, but requires a firm background in biochemistry. Readings from the primary literature will be assigned.

A term project undertaken by subgroups of the class working as integrated teams will involve the preparation of a structured research project, similar to a thesis proposal, in an area of biological networks. The topic will change yearly, and the written product of the case study will be evaluated by a committee of experts. The term grade will derive from the quiz, home-assignments and written paper and oral presentations along with participation in class-period discussions.