May 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Quantitative and Systems Biology, Ph.D.

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Program Description
Graduate Program Chair: Fred Wolf
Graduate Group Coordinator: Jan Zarate
Please direct inquiries to

The Quantitative and Systems Biology (QSB) graduate program is for Ph.D. and M.S. students interested in all areas of biology. A unique strength in QSB lies in training students to communicate across scientific boundaries to address complex questions and problems, while mastering core skills and disciplines. QSB faculty research at UC Merced, as well as Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the DOE Joint Genome Institute, and San Francisco State University, represent strengths organized under six areas:

  1. Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Mechanisms
  • Physiological Systems and Metabolomics
  • Stem Cell Biology and Regeneration
  • Molecular Neurobiology and Neurogenetics
  1. Evolution and Ecology
  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology
  • Genomics and its Applications for Biological Inquiry
  • Global Change  and Adaptation
  • Host-symbiont Interactions
  • Organismal and Integrative Biology
  • Population Ecology and Dynamics
  1. Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering
  • Structural Biology of Proteins and Molecular Complexes
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • Electrophysiology and Bioelectric Systems
  • Synthetic Biology
  1. Computational and Mathematical Biology
  • Molecular Systems Biology
  • Theoretical Biology and Modeling
  • Computational Evolutionary Biology and Bioinformatics
  1. Microbiology and Immunology
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Systems Biology
  • Biology of Microbial Communities
  • Microbial Pathogenesis and Infectious Disease
  1. Biology Education and Research Pedagogy

QSB recruits students with interests in these areas. QSB admits new students into a laboratory rotation track or, less frequently, direct admission into a laboratory. QSB students can take advantage of a wide diversity of support mechanisms for research opportunities and professional development, including Semester Research Fellowships, Conference Travel Awards, Summer Research Fellowships, and Summer Internships at the Joint Genome Institute at Berkeley.

QSB offers Concentrations in specific fields of biology. Students enrolling in a concentration will take courses aimed towards specialized skill development, and the degree conferred will include the concentration. Current concentrations offered are:

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology. Students will develop scholarship, teaching and research ability in one or more areas of Molecular and Cell Biology broadly defined, including biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, immunology, microbiology, neurobiology, and/or physiology.
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Students will develop scholarship, teaching and research ability in both Ecology and Evolutionary Biology broadly defined, including community ecology, biogeography, phylogenetics, and/or evolutionary and ecological dynamics.
  • Computational and Theoretical Biology. Students will develop sholarship, leaching and research ability in Computational and Theoretical Biology, including knowledge of current advances in computational and theoretical approaches to biological science.

Prospective applicants can view instructions on how to apply for graduate studies in QSB at the website,

Ph.D. Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Quantitative and Systems Biology Skill: Knowledge and understanding of Quantitative and Systems approaches to biological problems, and demonstrated ability to conceive, plan, execute and/or interpret the applications of these approaches to research questions.
  2. Ethics: Knowledge and understanding of ethical standards in proposing and executing professional scientific research.
  3. Teaching/Communication: Ability to effectively assist in the teaching of science in a classroom environment, and engage in effective communication of original and existing scientific inquiry and results orally and in writing.
  4. Scholarship: Ability to undertake and demonstrate original graduate level scholarship in specialized areas of biology, including integrative command of historical and current literature and broader scientific context, and identification of open research problems.
  5. Research Ability: Ability to propose and defend a feasible research plan to apply scientific techniques to open research problems and execute, complete and defend original research that advances scientific knowledge.

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