May 30, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog 
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Quantitative and Systems Biology, Ph.D.

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Program Description
Graduate Program Chair: David H. Ardell
Graduate Group Coordinator: Paul Roberts
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The Quantitative and Systems Biology Program takes advantage of advances in techniques and theory that bridge molecular and ecosystems scales and that have greatly enabled the potential for integration across the life sciences. Biologists’ ability to gather and process large amounts of quantitative data in field and laboratory settings is advancing hand-in-hand with theory and modeling that better explain the diversity of life on Earth. The Quantitative and Systems Biology Graduate Program at UC Merced provides individualized, research-based courses of study leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Research projects are available on diverse topics including:

  • biomolecular interactions
  • genomics and proteomics
  • cellular interactions and signal transduction
  • organ systems and whole animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate)
  • comparative ecology, evolution, and organismal biology, and
  • computational biology.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program and faculty, research projects often span multiple topics to address more complex questions and linkages across levels of biological scale (e.g. molecules, cells, organisms, communities) typical of systems biology and quantitative biology (e.g. measuring individuals to describe populations). Course work in this graduate program provides a background in the tools of modern biology, including computational biology, genomics and advanced instrumentation. The Quantitative and Systems Biology Program offers particular opportunities for students interested in multidisciplinary projects at the interface of biology, computer science and bioengineering. Career opportunities for graduates include exciting research positions in government and industry, as well as academic positions at colleges and universities.

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

Doctoral Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Quantitative and Systems Biology Skill (QB/SB)–Knowledge and understanding of quantitative (statistical, computational, and model dependent) and high-throughput experimental 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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