Courses

Course descriptions are below. Click here to view the latest schedule of Systems Biology courses at Harvard. 

  • SysBio200: Dynamic and Stochastic Processes in Cells (typically offered in Fall semester)
    Instructors: Jeremy Gunawardena and Johan Paulsson
    Rigorous introduction to (i) dynamical systems theory as a tool to understand molecular and cellular biology (ii) stochastic processes in single cells, using tools from statistical physics and information theory.
     
  • SysBio201: Principles of Animal Development (typically offered in Spring semester)
    Instructors: Angela DePace, Marc Kirschner and Sean Megason
    Intensive and critical analysis of systems approaches to circuits and principles controlling pattern formation and morphogenesis in animals. Students develop their own ideas and present them through mentored "chalk talks" and other interactive activities.
     
  • SysBio212: Communication of Science (typically offered in Fall semester)
    Instructors: Angela DePace, Allon Klein, and Galit Lahav
    Communicating effectively is an essential scientific skill but rarely explicitly taught. Scientists must tell people about their work—their colle212agues, the broader scientific community, students and the general public. All of these audiences have different levels of expertise and different goals for learning about science. Therefore each audience needs a specific message tailored to them. Not only must scientists tailor their message, they must also deliver it in a variety of different formats—in graphics, in writing, and in talks. Scientists with strong communication skills are better teachers, better colleagues, and more persuasive advocates for science. And yet we do not typically teach scientific communication directly.

    To address this gap, we designed a class where students learn scientific communication in the context of problems relevant to their own research. We address three modes of scientific communication: graphics, writing and presentations.  Across all of these sections, we emphasize three core principles: teaching a process, finding the essential story and getting critical feedback. Each section consists of hands-on exercises in small peer groups. We explicitly teach students how to lead these groups and how to constructively critique one another. 
     
  • SysBio204: Synthetic Biology: From Ideation to Commercialization (typically offered in Fall semester)
    Instructors: Jeffrey Way, Dubreuil, Catherine
    This course provides an introduction to synthetic biology, with an emphasis on medical applications.  Topics will include (1) design principles of cells, organisms, and complex proteins, industry case studies, and analysis of the synthetic-biological literature; and (2) commercialization of biotechnology and synthetic biology, including conceptualization of commercializable research, financing mechanisms, intellectual property strategies, licensing, publicity, virtual companies, and the progression through pre-clinical and clinical research and development.  Specific topics include design of bacterial and mammalian genetic circuits, CAR-T cells, whole genome recoding, artificial protein design, and gene therapy.