The Columbia University Department of Systems Biology brings together researchers specializing in computational biology, experimental biology, and technology development to discover how biological traits emerge from complex molecular networks.
Systems biology and computational biology are becoming increasingly important disciplines in the biological sciences. Through PhD graduate education and postdoctoral training we prepare young scientists to become leaders in this exciting and rapidly growing field.
Awards and GrantsDr. Lappalainen Receives Distinguished Faculty Award
Congratulations to Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD, assistant professor of systems biology at Columbia University and core faculty member at the New York Genome Center, who has received the Harold and Golden Lamport Research award, an annual prize given to junior faculty members for outstanding basic science or clinical science research. Dr. Lappalainen was presented with the faculty award at the May 22 Commencement Ceremony for Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
ProfileGrad Spotlight: Brian Ji, PhD
For Brian Ji, the big draw to systems biology stemmed from his passion for applying quantitative approaches to understanding biology. Ji studied under Dr. Dennis Vitkup in the Vitkup lab and completed his thesis defense for systems biology in the fall of 2018. Also an MD student in Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ji was attracted to Columbia because of the close interplay between the Systems Biology Department and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Ultimately,” he says, “the opportunity to sit at the intersection between math, biology and medicine was too good to pass up.”
EducationColumbia Highlights MD/PhD Student Research
Congratulations to Phyllis Thangaraj, an MD/PhD student in the Nicholas Tatonetti lab, for her winning poster session at an event recognizing aspiring physician-scientists from the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Students in the MD/PhD program training program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center presented their research posters at the 14th annual Student Research Symposium on April 25, and topics included a wide range, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and stem cells. Thangaraj discussed ongoing research in applying machine learning methods to phenotype acute ischemic stroke patients in electronic health records.
In the PressTargeting Cancer and Careers: Precision Medicine
In the field of oncology, innovations continue to grow rapidly in precision, or targeted medicine, as clinicians seek to find better treatments for specific kinds of cancer, rather than take a blanket approach to treating patients. This emerging direction in medicine and cancer research has also given birth to a flood of new jobs in previously unseen areas such as business, translational medicine and genetic counseling. Science magazine recently spoke to Andrea Califano, Dr, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology and a pioneering researcher in this space, to get his thoughts about the rapidly growing field of precision medicine.
Research NewsSame Microbe, Different Effect
Our gut microbiome has been linked to everything from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and even neurological disorders and cancer. Researchers have been sorting through the multiple bacterial species that populate the microbiome, asking which of them can be implicated in specific disorders. But in a new study, co-led by Dr. Tal Korem and published in Nature, addressed a new question: "What if the same microbe is different in different people?" The study details a novel computational method that systematically identifies structural variants across human gut microbiomes, and could help scientists pinpoint the connections between our microbiome, health and disease.