The Systems Biology Training Program is open to students from any discipline who are interested in adapting their current work into a systems approach to health research, and who are currently working in a lab that meets the program’s requirements. Traditionally, students have come from the life sciences departments, such as Biochemistry, Physiology, and Biology, or from related quantitative disciplines such as Bioinformatics or Biostatistics. We encourage, however, applications from students in diverse fields such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Engineering, Psychology, etc.
In order to receive student stipends from the Systems Biology Training Program, mentoring teams will have four properties:
- Research projects focusing on human health and disease;
- Several Principal Investigators, with common goals but diverse backgrounds;
- New technologies being developed and/or applied in biomedical research;
- Strong emphasis on, or possibility for, quantitative analysis of data.
For example, the Integrative Approaches to Breast Cancer team is an example of how systems biology can be applied to tackle a vexing health problem, and demonstrates the sort of research related to this training program. Led by Dr. Morag Park, and including Drs. Muller, Siegel, Giguere, and Hallett, this team project involves laser capture microdissection from human breast cancer tissue, gene expression microarrays, statistical analysis of gene expression correlated with prognosis, and protein biochemistry of selected targets. The project involves cutting edge histology, microarray technology, and in depth bioinformatics, combined with techniques of traditional biochemistry and genetics. This integrated approach has resulted in the identification of a novel set of biomarkers of disease progression that correlate with patients' clinical outcome. These findings will allow a major improvement in breast cancer therapy and an improvement in overall health for patients.
The Systems Biology Training Program encourages the participation of multi-disciplinary groups, and will assist interested students in adapting their program to a systems biology perspective.