Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (SYBB) MS Program

Case Western Reserve University's (CWRU) graduate program in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (SYBB) has 2 tracks:

  • Translational Bioinformatics: The SYBB track in Translational Bioinformatics poises students to work at the interface of applied ‘omics research and clinical medicine. From integrating genomic and functional genomic data into electronic medical records, to developing meta-analysis tools for communicating genomic risk to patients to utilizing this data in personalized medicine. Students trained in the Translational Bioinformatics track work to integrate bioinformatics tools and technologies into clinical workflows. Graduates of this training track will find ample opportunities within industry and, as genomics enters the clinical arena, within hospitals, as well.
  • Molecular and Computational Biology: The SYBB track in Molecular and Computational Biology embraces the pursuit of basic science research, employing the application and development of computational approaches to address difficult questions derived from today’s “Big data” derived from ‘omics approaches. This track equips students in the acquisition of experimental data utilizing approaches including proteomics, metabolomics, genomics and structural biology and extends this work with interpretation provided by computational analysis. Graduates of this training track will find ample opportunities within the pharmaceutical industry, contract research organizations as well as more traditional academic career paths.

Students can choose one of the two tracks for the MS program.

Program Competencies

The specific academic requirements of the SYBB Program are intended to provide students with a required core curriculum in Systems Biology and a set of electives designed both to assure minimum competencies in Fundamental Core Competencies and equip them for their particular thesis research discipline. Each trainee will be guided in their customized course of study by a mentoring committee to ensure the completion of training in the program competencies as well as maintenance of a focus on molecular systems theory. These competencies include:

  • Evaluation of the scientific discovery process and of the role of bioinformatics in it in detail, including data generation steps and understanding the biology.
  • Application of computational and statistical methods appropriate to solve a given scientific problem
  • Construction of software systems of varying complexity based on design and development principles.
  • Effective teamwork to accomplish a common scientific goal.
  • Building knowledge in local and global impact of bioinformatics and systems biology on individuals, organizations, and society.
  • Effective communication of bioinformatics and systems biology problems to a range of audiences, including, but not limited to, other bioinformatics professionals.

Degree Requirements

Master's Thesis (Plan A)

The minimum requirements for the master’s degree under Plan A are 21 semester hours of course work plus a thesis equivalent to at least 9 semester hours of registration for 30 hours total. These must include:

  • SYBB 501 Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club*
  • Aminimum of 9 hours of SYBB 651 Thesis MS
  • SYBB 459 Bioinformatics for Systems Biology
  • SYBB 555 Current Proteomics

The curriculum plan must be approved by the program steering committee and include appropriate coverage of the core competencies in genes and proteins, bioinformatics, and quantitative modeling and analysis. At least 18 semester hours of course work, in addition to thesis hours, must be at the 400-level or higher.

Each student must prepare an individual thesis that must conform to regulations concerning format, quality, and time of submission as established by the dean of graduate studies as well as conforming to the SYBB program guidelines. For completion of master’s degrees under Plan A, an oral examination (defense) of the master’s thesis is required, where the examination is conducted by a committee of at least three members of the university faculty.

Master's Comprehensive Exam (Plan B)

The minimum requirements for the master’s degree under Plan B are 30 semester hours of course work (with at least 18 semester hours of course work at the 400 level or higher) and a written comprehensive examination or major project with report to be administered and evaluated by the program steering committee. The coursework must include the following:

  • SYBB 501 Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club*
  • SYBB 459 Bioinformatics for Systems Biology
  • SYBB 555 Current Proteomics

The curriculum plan must be approved by the program steering committee and include appropriate coverage of the core competencies in genes and proteins, bioinformatics, and quantitative modeling and analysis.

*Registration each semester in SYBB 501 is required for all students in the SYBB graduate program.

Sample Plan of Study (Molecular and Computational Biology Track)

Plan of Study includes required courses as well as electives. 

First Year Fall Units Spring Units
SYBB 411A: Survey of Bioinformatics: Technologies in Bioinformatics 1  
SYBB 411B: Survey of Bioinformatics: Data Integration in Bioinformatics 1  
SYBB 411C: Survey of Bioinformatics: Translational Bioinformatics 1  
SYBB 501: Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club 0  
PQHS 431: Statistical Methods I 3  
Topical Elective from Elective Course List 3  
SYBB 412: Survey of Bioinformatics: Programming for Bioinformatics   3
SYBB 555: Current Proteomics and Bioinformatics   3
SYBB 501: Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club   0
Additional 3 Credit Course TBD   3
Semester Totals: 9 9

 

Second Year Fall Units Spring Units
EECS 440: Machine Learning 3  
BIOC 475: Protein Biophysics 3  
SYBB 651: Thesis MS 3  
SYBB 501: Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club 0  
SYBB 651: Thesis MS   3 or 6
SYBB 501: Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology Journal Club   0
Semester Totals: 9 3-6

Total Units in Sequence: 30-33

Electives

Genes and Proteins Courses

Course Number Course Description Credits
PQHS/GENE/MPHP 451
CLBY 555/BIOC 555/PATH 555
Principles of Genetic Epidemiology 3
PHOL/CHEM/PHRM/BIOC/NEUR 475 Protein Biophysics 3
PHOL 456 Conversations on Protein Structure and Function 2
PHOL 480 Physiology of Organ Systems 4
CBIO 453 Cell Biology I 4
CBIO 455 Molecular Biology I 4
BIOC 420 Current Topics in Cancer 3
BIOC 528 Contemporary Approaches to Drug Discovery 3
BETH 412 Ethical Issues in Genetics/Genomics 3

 

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Courses

Course Number Course Description Credits
PQHS 415 Statistical Computing and Data Analytics 3
BIOL/EECS 419 Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes for Biology 3
PHRM/PHOL/CHEM/BIOC 430 Advanced Methods in Structural Biology 1-6
EECS 458 Introduction to Bioinformatics 3
NEUR 478/BIOL 378/COGS
MATH 378/BIOL 478/EBME 478
Computational Neuroscience 3
GENE 508 Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics 3
BIOC 430 Advanced Methods in Structural Biology 1-6

 

Quantitative Analysis and Modeling

Course Number Course Description Credits
PQHS 431 Statistical Methods I 3
PQHS 432 Statistical Methods II 3
PQHS 480 Introduction to Statistical Theory 3
PQHS 481 Theoretical Statistics I 3
PQHS 482 Theoretical Statistics II 3
PQHS 460 Introduction to Health Services Research 3
PQHS 515 Secondary Analysis of Large Health Care Data Bases 3
MPHP 405 Statistical Methods in Public Health 3
EECS 435 Data Mining 3
EECS 440 Machine Learning 3
MATH 441 Mathematical Modeling 3
EBME 300/MATH 449 Dynamics of Biological Systems: A Quantitative Introduction to Biology 3
MIDS 301 Introduction to Information: A Systems and Design Approach 3

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