Molecular & Cellular Biology

Revealing the secrets of nature & educating next generation of science innovators

Systems and Computational Biology

Systems and Computational Biology

Systems and Computational Biology

Understanding many cellular processes demands an integrative approach, considering systems of interacting biomolecules, rather than focusing on individual genes or proteins. For example, cell-cycle checkpoints are bistable, in that the cell either divides or it doesn't, with no intermediate outcome possible. This bistability arises not from a particular gene, but rather through the nonlinear interactions of multiple genes in a network. Depending on the problem, dechiphering such complex nonlinear systems demands assays that measure many cellular components simultaneously or assays that track individual cells rather than populations. Understanding the resulting data is often greatly aided by computational approaches, either to processed the large data sets, or to develop computational models that reproduce particular cellular behaviors.

Associated Faculty

Andrew Capaldi, PhD, researches the signaling pathways and transcription factors in a cell that are organized into circuits. They allow cells to process information and make decisions. For Dr. Capaldi, the work arises in understanding both how these circuits are built from their components, and how they... Read More
Our research group integrates computational systems biology and population genetics to understand the function and evolution of the complex molecular networks that underlie life. We build and analyze mathematical simulations of protein networks to probe deeper into their function than experiments can. We... Read More
Understanding the heterogeneous response of cancer cells to chemotherapy treatment Isogenic populations of cells often show very different responses to identical perturbations. For cancer cells this can manifest in a fractional response to chemotherapy treatment. We use quantitative fluorescence microscopy... Read More
In a variety of systems, proteins have been linked to processes historically limited to nucleic acids, such as infectivity and inheritance. Such proteins, termed prions, adopt multiple physical and therefore functional states in vivo, an attribute underlying their atypical roles in the cell. Our work seeks... Read More
What do we do? We study gene networks that control life and death decisions of cancer cells, and how they differ from normal cells. What is the goal of our research? We aim to better understand control mechanisms underlying various cell-fate decisions, and their connections to cancer development and aging,... Read More