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One of the defining features of living organisms is their astonishing complexity. Even seemingly simple single cell organisms such as microbes display exceedingly complex behaviors, determined by intricate molecular networks in which large numbers of molecular components, pathways and chemical reactions act together. These behaviors have fascinated scientists for decades and include development, response to pathogenic and environmental insults and interactions with other organisms. Understanding how complexity of living systems arises and coordinates cellular function and pathologies continues to be one of the principal goals of biomedical research today.

The Department of Systems Biology (DSB) studies how biological complexity can be derived and understood from the interplay between individual components and processes that combine to make up living organisms.

The department brings together an enthusiastic and highly collaborative group of scientists that employ an array of experimental and computational approaches to study a variety of biological systems. Research in the program ranges from quantitative studies of properties of single cells to analyses of complex phenotypes of animals, and leverages the latest technological developments in the areas of molecular biology, genomics, high-content imaging, quantitative modeling, computer science and bioinformatics. The commonality of all research in the program is the integration of high-throughput experimentation and quantitative data analyses to study how biological systems behave, respond, adapt and evolve. Disease states are increasingly considered to be caused not by a singular biochemical alteration, but instead are viewed as the result of wider disruptions of the complex interplay between the many molecular components and processes that make up the human body. Researchers in the program aim to unravel how systems go awry in a variety of pathologies and how systems can be perturbed to mitigate disease.

Latest News

Job Dekker elected to National Academy of Sciences

By Colleen Locke
UMass Chan Medical School Communications

May 04, 2022

Job Dekker, PhD
UMass Chan Medical School scientist Job Dekker, PhD, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3 for his contributions to the field of genomics.
Dr. Dekker, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Joseph J. Byrne Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and systems biology, is one of 120 newly elected members.

Congratulations to Dr. Amir Mitchell on Being Promoted to Associate Professor

April, 2022 

Congratulations to Dr. Johan Gibcus of the Dekker Lab on Being Promoted to Assistant Professor

April, 2022

The Department in Systems Biology Welcomes our Newest Rotation Students

February, 2022

Jasmine Grasile - Joins the Shank Lab for Rotation

Alejandro Felix Mejia - Joins the Youk Lab for Rotation


The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes New Post Doc, Dandan Wang, PhD, to the Walhout Lab!

January, 2022
Dandan Wang, PhD

Dandan completed her PhD in the lab of Dr. Rong Zeng at Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she studied mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics. She is excited to join the Walhout lab to study genetic and metabolic network using C. elegans.


The Department of Systems Biology Welcomes New Post Doc, Rachel Neve, PhD, to the Shank Lab!

December, 2021
Rachel Neve, PhD

Rachel completed her PhD in the lab of Dr. Vanessa Phelan at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical campus, where she studied microbial metabolite production in the context of cystic fibrosis lung infections.


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