Introduction to Systems Biology.


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Biological systems are dynamic, complex, and made of many parts. In the past, scientists often tried to understand them by examining each constituent part. However, this approach was unsuccessful in many cases because the parts of any complex biological system can “interact” with each other and understanding such interaction is critical.

In this biology and life sciences course you will learn about systems biology, a holistic approach to understanding biological complexity, focusing on how all of the parts of a system work together. This course will teach you the basic concepts of systems biology, including engineering principles and tools developed for dynamic systems (e.g., robots) to better model and understand biological dynamics.

You will learn how simple math operations, addition and multiplication, can be used to model and simulate dynamic biological behaviors. Different types of “gene circuits” will be modeled and simulated using Octave Online, a web-based programming tool.

This course is geared towards secondary/ high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators and students. Basic programming skills will be taught in a step-wise manner so no prior programming experience or knowledge is necessary.


Week 1: What is systems biology?
Briefly introduces what systems biology is and explains why we are interested in the subject.
Week 2: Introduction to dynamic systems
Explains what a dynamic system is and its characteristics. Week 3: Gene circuit modeling (Part 1)
Introduces gene circuit modeling in logical domain Week 4: Gene circuit modeling (Part 2)
Introduces gene circuit modeling in physical domain