The Columbia University Department of Systems Biology is a multidisciplinary program whose goal is to advance the integration of quantitative and experimental research methods in the biological and biomedical sciences.

Our faculty

The Department of Systems Biology includes more than two-dozen faculty members with a wide range of interests. We specialize in a diverse set of fields including gene regulatory networks, cancer biology, immunology and infectious diseases, human genetics, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, computational structural biology, chemical biology, biomedical informatics, synthetic biology, computer science, applied mathematics, and other disciplines, and collaborate on projects with potential applications in human medicine. Over the past five years, our investigators have produced more than 300 publications, approximately one-third of which appeared in top scientific journals. All of this activity means that students who study systems biology at Columbia University become part of a robust community of investigators working at the forefront of biological discovery.

Our students are part of a robust community working at the forefront of biological discovery.

Through our relationship with Columbia University Medical Center, one of the largest and most respected research medical centers in the country, members of the Department of Systems Biology, including students and postdocs, participate in a wide array of cross-disciplinary collaborations. Much of our research is focused on driving biological problems with potential implications for the treatment of human disease.

Centers of excellence

The Department of Systems Biology is recognized as a national leader in the field, currently receiving support through all three of the National Cancer Institute's U54 funding programs in systems biology. This includes the Center for Cancer Systems Therapeutics (CaST), the Center for Topology of Cancer Evolution and Heterogeneity, and the Cancer Target Discovery and Development Center (CTD2). In addition, the Department of Systems Biology participates in the International Serious Adverse Event Consortium (iSAEC).

Our facilities and technical infrastructure

Columbia University research and training in systems biology take place on two campuses located in the heart of New York City. The Columbia University Medical Center campus houses laboratories dedicated to biomedical research. Students who pursue training under the mentorship of faculty in basic science and engineering departments are based at Columbia’s main campus. Through frequent seminars, journal clubs, an annual retreat, and other activities we promote the integration of both campuses to foster interaction across our large community.

At the Medical Center, the Department of Systems Biology operates a high-performance computing platform for conducting data-intensive computational research in molecular and systems biology. The Department of Systems Biology also oversees the Columbia Genome Center, which has state-of-the-art facilities for next-generation sequencing, high-throughput screening, and single-cell experimentation. PhD students have opportunities to access these facilities to advance research on their chosen biological problems of interest.

Our students

Students in the Department of Systems Biology come from across the United States and from around the world. They arrive with diverse backgrounds and interests, including biological sciences, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and other fields. This wide range of experiences creates a highly dynamic, collaborative, and intellectually stimulating environment within which to develop the knowledge and skills to conduct research in systems biology.

Students benefit not only from coursework and lab work, but also from many opportunities to attend symposia and conferences on a wide range of topics across the Columbia campus. Once you begin your lab rotations, you will join other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty in regular group meetings to discuss ongoing projects. Our annual retreat also offers an opportunity to learn about systems biology work being conducted in other labs across campus, and to interact with others in our community. In general, we strive to promote a friendly, supportive environment that values collaboration over competition, particularly considering the multidisciplinary, collaborative nature of systems biology research.

In addition, living in New York City offers students countless opportunities to take advantage of the cultural activities for which this one-of-a-kind city is renowned.