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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 Program in Systems Biology (PSB) 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 program 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.

PSB started in the fall of 2011 and currently comprises seven research groups. The program maintains and continues to encourage collaborations between the groups, as well as with other programs and departments across UMMS. The PSB is located in the Albert Sherman Center, a state-of-the-art research and education facility designed to promote collaboration and communication between cutting-edge research programs and to enhance graduate and medical education.

Latest News

Hyun Youk, PhD, joins the Program in Systems Biology

November 2, 2020

Dr. Hyun Youk

We welcome Dr. Hyun Youk to UMass Medical School as an Associate Professor in the Program in Systems Biology. Hyun and his lab study how living systems transition between being alive and being either truly dead or seemingly dead.

UMMS scientists to expand 4D nucleome research with $13 million NIH grants

Dr. Job Dekker
October 23, 2020

Job Dekker and Paul Kaufman to investigate architecture of genome as it changes over time

Congratulations to Denis Lafontaine of the Dekker Lab on the F31 Award!

Job Dekker elected to European Molecular Biology Organization

July 07, 2020

Dr. Job Dekker

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has elected Job Dekker, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, the Joseph J. Byrne Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, and co-director of the Program in Systems Biology, to lifetime membership in the organization. 

UMMS students produce hand sanitizer for nearby hospitals amid COVID-19 pandemic

April 10, 2020

In a time of dire need, as medical professionals are working to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and critical supplies of protective gear are running low, students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Medical School produced nearly 130 gallons of hand sanitizer in less than three days to help sustain local hospitals.