History of the QB programme

Integrative Experimental and Computational Biology (IECB)

The Quantitive Biology program evolved from a previous program, entitled Integrative Experimental and Computational Biology (IECB). It recognized the profound changes that genomics brought about across all of Life Sciences. The sequencing of the genomes of species from across the tree of life has provided access to their complete genetic blueprint, and opened the door to novel experimental strategies and reasoning. Top-down and bottom-up approaches could synergize to address fundamental problems in biology. The Doctoral Program in Integrative Experimental and Computational Biology (IECB) was launched under the leadership of Keith Harshman as a multi-departmental program to attract highly motivated, international students who wish to pursue biological research incorporating experimental and computational approaches. PhD topics offered span the study of molecules, cells, organisms and their environment, and cover developmental biology, physiology, cancer biology, neuroscience, behaviour and evolutionary biology.

The program was visionary in that it sought to tightly combine experimental and computational biology: students were instructed in genome-wide and proteome-wide data analysis, biological modelling, quantitative image analysis, programming and statistics, in addition to a thorough education in experimental biology, through a didactic program that complements both their individual research topic and background. Thus, PhD students become conversant in both experimental and computational approaches and acquire the ability to integrate quantitative and experimental methods in their own research.

In total, 36 PhD students joined this program over the years. Most have already graduated.

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