To obtain insight into the fundamental concepts and applications of systems biology at the theoretical and practical level, with emphasis on human metabolism. Lectures will be given by members of the Nijmegen Centre for Systems Biology and Bioenergetics (CSBB; www.csb-bioenergetics.nl) and invited external lecturers.
Biological systems like cells, tissues and organisms display a highly organized structure and function. The essence of systems biology has been described as: "The study of biological systems by systematically perturbing them (biologically, genetically, or chemically); monitoring the gene, protein, and informational pathway responses; integrating these data; and ultimately, formulating mathematical models that describe the structure of the system and its response to individual perturbations". In this sense, systems biology is a groundbreaking scientific approach that integrates recent developments in the fields of biochemistry, pharmacology, cell biology, cell physiology, computer science and systems engineering.
Systems biology will be a vital tool in elucidating the many interacting factors that contribute to the cause of diseases. One of the most immediate impacts will be on the drug development process, bringing innovative drugs to the patient more quickly. This course is intended to give advanced students a first understanding of the concepts used in systems biology. The biological focus will be on how systems biology approaches can help to understand human metabolism in health and disease. This directly relates to the recently established Nijmegen Centre for Systems Biology and Bioenergetics (CSBB), which aims to create large-scale metabolic flux models as well as dynamic models of single cells. These will be used to predict the consequences of disease-related disturbances of energy homeostasis with the aim to develop effective and safe pharmacological and nutritional interventions.