Blog about the interests of the Department … Blog about the interests of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. They use tools from physics, mathematics and computer science to help us better understand the behavior of biological systems, large and small. Jobs and postdoc positions are available under the corresponding categories.
* Methods for quantitative measurement, and for data analysis. Although much is said about the flood of new data in biology, nearly every time you want to understand a biological system at a mathematical or mechanical level you find that the numbers you need most are missing. Measuring and extracting the parameters that describe key features of the system is a major interest.
* Theoretical and computational methods that can cope with the special features of biological systems. Issues such as combinatorial complexity, stochasticity, and variation from individual to individual and tissue to tissue are hard to deal with using conventional tools.
* Philosophies of modeling. How do we represent what we know about the system — what level of abstraction is appropriate for a given question, what is important and what can be ignored? What are models useful for?
* Evolution. One of the more useful tools to identify what’s important is evolution — a comparison across species helps to show what is “allowed” to change and what is not.
* Synthetic biology. If I understand it, can I build it? (And in any case, can I build useful stuff?)
They will post thoughts about recent papers in the literature that they find interesting, news about the Department, and information about Department Alumni. Please check back frequently, and feel free to comment. back frequently, and feel free to comment.