News from CEXS-UPF
Systems Biology is a multidisciplinary branch of science that aims at the elucidation of the biological properties that emerge from the interaction of genes, molecules, cells, tissues and organisms. As Systems Biology is inherently multidisciplinary, education within this field meets numerous hurdles including departmental barriers, availability of all required expertise locally, appropriate teaching material and example curricula. In an article published in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, international experts in Systems Biology have defined the directions considered necessary to improve training in systems biology and create educational programs in this field in all European institutions.
A good interdisciplinary program should be more than a collection of specific courses in each discipline combined in the same curricula. According to the authors, " the most enriching courses are those in which students of different backgrounds solve tasks together." Therefore, experts recommend that programs accept students with different curricula and keep them together as much as possible. Similarly, much of the training should be based on the so-called "Sherlock Holmes practicals", challenging exercises where students from different backgrounds jointly work around a given problem, instead of teaching theoretical concepts unrelated to the problems of investigation.