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Introduction to Computational and Systems Biology

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Course Description

This course,  from the MIT Open Courseware library, gives a broad overview of computational and systems biology. Starting from a definition as well as where it fits within other fields of study, the lectures cover the history of computational biology from the 1970s onwards, and expands on areas and advances in the field occurring today. This course is the first set of lectures in a larger Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology course taught at MIT in Spring 2014.

Christopher Burge, David Gifford, and Ernest Fraenkel. 7.91J Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology, Spring 2014. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 15 Jul, 2015). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Learning Objectives:

  • Define computational biology and anchor it within other fields of biology and academia
  • Track the history and advances in computational biology from the 1970s onwards
  • Define various methods of next generation DNA sequencing
  • Distinguish between proteins, protein interactions, and protein interactions networks


  1. Overview - 6 minutes

    1. What do you Already Know?
    2. Overview and Objectives
    3. Motivating Questions for the Course
  2. Defining Computational Biology - 2 minutes

    1. Defining Computational Biology
  3. History - 10 minutes

    1. The 1970s and Earlier
    2. The 1980s and 1990s
    3. The 2000s
    4. Late 2000s and Early 2010s
  4. Genomic Analysis: Next Gen Sequencing Overview - 8 minutes

    1. Next Gen DNA Sequencing
    2. Next Gen RNA Sequencing
    3. Understanding Genome Function in Health and Disease
  5. Proteins - 3 minutes

    1. Proteins, Protein Interactions, Protein Interaction Networks
  6. Wrap Up - 1 minutes

    1. What do you Know Now?



About the Expert

MIT Open Courseware

MIT Open Courseware

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
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