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Systems Biology

Systems Biology Research Excellence Cluster

Faculty in the Systems Biology Research Excellence Cluster use mathematics and computer modeling to enable a better understanding of complex biological interactions. Components of biological systems range in size from molecules, to cells, all the way to ecosystems. Perturbations in a biological pathway can have far-reaching effects on the biological system. For example, a single mutated gene can disrupt the function of a cell and of an entire organism. Or, engineering bacteria to fix nitrogen for crop plants could reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and improve crop production.

The field of systems biology is driven by cutting-edge technologies such as DNA sequencing, transcriptomics (RNA-sequencing) and proteomics which generate large datasets. Our ability to analyze these “big data sets” requires application of techniques from many biological disciplines, including molecular biology, computational science (bioinformatics) and mathematics.

At SDSU, our faculty and students engage in a wide range of systems biology research topics including plant science, evolutionary biology, ecology and cell and molecular biology. Students participating in systems biology research receive training in techniques such as PCR, DNA or RNA sequencing, computer coding in programs such as R, MATLAB, Python and advanced bioinformatics and modeling approaches.