Introduction to Systems Biology


Course Objective

Introduction to Systems Biology is the starting course of the
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology master (together with Fundamentals of

- To make the student acquainted with the major approaches and
methodology in systems biology (to be studied in more detail in the
- To develop a basic understanding of biological concepts that are
relevant to current topics in systems biology.
- To gain hands-on experience in basic modelling as a means of solving
systems biology problems.
- To repair gaps in background knowledge.

Course Content

Theoretical topics:
- The two branches of systems biology
- Data structure, geometrical mapping, PCA, distance metrics, clustering
- Cellular composition, diffusion, time scales, rates
- Mass-action, mass balances, reactions, equilibria, stable/unstable
steady states equilibrium binding, affinity, conformational change,
ultrasensitivity, transduction cascades, autoregulation, mutual
inhibition/activation, bistability, feed-forward loops, steady state
metabolism, regulation of metabolism and regulation by demand

- Exercises during/in between lectures in which methods of systems
biology will be applied to several topics.

- Conversion classes
Depending on their background, students will also be assigned to two out
of three deficiency classes where they will be working to fill gaps in
their knowledge in mathematics, programming and/or biology.

Teaching Methods

- Lectures (two hour lecture in the morning, two days per week)
- Computer- and modelling practicals
- Conversion classes in biology, mathematics and/or programming

Method of Assessment

30% Mathematics, Programming or Biology conversion classes
60% Final exam of the Systems Biology subjects


A course syllabus will be provided

Target Audience

Students with a bachelor degree in Biology, Bioinformatics, Mathematics,
Physics or similar background

Recommended background knowledge

Mathematics at highschool level

General Information

Course Code X_428565
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. D. Molenaar
Examiner dr. D. Molenaar
Teaching Staff dr. D. Molenaar
prof. dr. B. Teusink
prof. dr. F.J. Bruggeman

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: