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Harvard Medical School Announces New Department of Systems Biology

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (GenomeWeb News) - Harvard Medical school is creating a department of systems biology - the school's first completely new department in two decades, the university announced Tuesday.


The school expects to recruit over 20 faculty to the new DSB and has appointed Marc Kirschner as the first department chair. Kirschner, a cell biologist, also was a leader in forming Harvard Medical School's department of cell biology, as well as the Harvard Institute for Chemistry and Cell Biology.


"As we understand more about the tiniest pieces that we are made of, it becomes increasingly clear that we do not understand how they work together as systems," Kirschner said in a statement. "We need to build on the foundation of molecular biology to construct an understanding of the architecture of the cell and how cells cooperate across organ systems, with a predictive model of physiology as the ultimate goal."


Like similar centers for systems biology and integrated biology around the world, the department will draw together faculty in mathematics, computer sciences, engineering, and physics as well as the biological scinces, in order to establish the theoretical framework for understanding systems biology. It will also form programs for education of physical scientists in biology, and core facilities that promote interdisciplinary interactions. The funding for the department will come from Harvard Medical School, and Harvard University.


Timothy Mitchison, currently at Harvard Medical School's Cell Biology department, and Lewis Cantley, a professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will join the faculty of this new department.

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