Systems Biology & Bioinformatics (SYBB) Graduate Program

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Do you want to convert big data into understandable models that might change the world? With a graduate degree in systems biology and bioinformatics, you can combine your love of math, statistics, computers and biology to develop computational models with which to provide new insight and understanding of big data, leading to big discoveries in both laboratory or clinical settings.

Data science is the convergence of data engineering, math, statistics, advanced computing, the scientific method and subject-matter expertise. It involves the collection, management and transformation of "big data" into actionable information that can answer some of the world's most pressing problems. Yet there is a distinct need for data science experts who can efficiently interpret data into information that is useful for strategic decision-making. It is the goal of the Systems Biology and Bioinformatics program to produce the scientists that are needed to assist in extracting meaning from the burgeoning biological 'omics field. 

‌The SYBB program offers a multidisciplinary training program personally customized to the student leading to an MS or PhD. The program draws training faculty (currently 38 trainers) from more than 12 departments and 6 schools across the CWRU campus, ensuring students in the program acquire the core competencies needed to succeed in the bioinformatic analysis of biological big data.

The Systems Biology and Bioinformatics PhD program at CWRU offers trainees the opportunity to combine both experimental and computational or mathematical disciplines to understand complex biological systems. The SYBB program will train scientists who are able to generate and analyze experimental data for biomedical research and to develop physical or computational models of the molecular components that drive the behavior of a biological system. The goal of the program is to produce scientists who are familiar with multiple disciplines and equipped to conduct interdisciplinary research.

Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Tracks

Case Western Reserve University's (CWRU) graduate program in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (SYBB) has two 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 either track for both the MS and PhD programs.

The SYBB participating institutes, departments and centers include:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Cleveland Clinic - Lerner College of Medicine
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
  • Genetics and Genome Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Nutrition
  • Physiology and Biophysics
  • Pharmacology
  • University Hospitals

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.

For More Information

  • David T. Lodowski, PhD, Co-director
    Mark Chance, PhD, Co-­director
  • Location: BRB 9th Floor, School of Medicine
  • Phone: 216.368.2440
  • Email: