Duke Center for Systems Biology

With its roots in collaborative research efforts initiated in 2003, we became a University Center in 2007. The Duke Center for Systems Biology (DCSB) now includes 23 faculty from the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke Medicine. We offer a weekly seminar series, weekly lunches for the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, an annual retreat off-campus, summer workshops, and a major symposium each fall.

Researchers at the DCSB are working to understand the dynamics of biological networks, including both the dynamics of network states and the dynamics of network structures. The DCSB builds upon the close working relationships between computational and experimental scientists to study network dynamics at three different time scales:

  1. The cell cycle in yeast and human cells, with a scale of minutes to hours;
  2. Development in plant roots, sea urchin embryos and mouse embryos, with a scale of hours to weeks;
  3. Network evolution in yeast and sea urchins, with a scale of millions of years.

Because we are studying networks across different organisms, biological processes, and time scales, we have a unique opportunity to identify commonalities and differences in the network dynamics of biological systems.

The DCSB is committed to creating an academic space that fosters inquiry, intellectual exchange, and effective interdisciplinary education and communication. We are a community of faculty, researchers, and students that spans departments of Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Cell Biology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, and Statistical Science to enable a breadth of modeling approaches to be considered across a range of biological problems. Consistent with this aim, and encouraged by Duke's explicit commitment to collaborative interdisciplinary research, DCSB projects involve direct collaboration with both experimental and computational faculty and students in order to provide quantitative insights into network dynamics, a fundamental problem in systems biology.

The DCSB received support from the NIGMS National Centers for Systems Biology program during 2007-2013. A profile of the DCSB published in ACS Synthetic Biology provides more information about the history and the continuing efforts of the Center.