Training in Systems Biology

Systems Biology Graduate Program

Our program is designed to train students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in the cutting-edge research techniques that comprise the interdisciplinary research of modern cell biology. Students are provided with rigorous cross training in areas of mathematical, physical, and computational sciences and biology. Systems Biology students take courses, attend seminars and work on interdisciplinary research projects to broaden and strengthen their abilities to do quantitative cell biology research.

The Systems Biology area of concentration is based within the Richard D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling (CCAM) at UConn Health.

Question: I am interested in applying to UConn's graduate program for systems biology.  I have a background in pure mathematics (M.S.) and have become interested in mathematical approaches for modelling and studying biological systems. Am I suitable for your program?

Answer: Yes, we're interested in applicants with math background. We had very successful students with math background in the past. But you should know: if selected for the interview, you will be interviewed by 3 people, at least one of them will be a pure biologist. You should convince them that you know or can learn biology well enough to understand modern biology questions. Specifically, the first-year students take the course on Foundations of Biomedical Science: which includes discussions of modern biological papers.
The bottom line: you shouldn't know all biology as good as a biology major, but you should convince admission committee that you already know some part of biology well enough to apply your math, and you can quickly understand any other parts of biology relevant to problems you may encounter. If you're up for this task - you're welcome to apply.

FAQ about Systems Biology training:


Graduate Students

Milda StanislauskasGraduateStudent Advisor: Yi Wu
Education: BA/MA Hunter College
About: Before joining the graduate program at UConn Health, Milda worked at a skin disease research center studying Merkel cells, which are mechanoreceptive cells responsible for sensing light touch. Her research interests include how cells sense physical cues from the external environment and convert them into chemical signals, and how these signals affect various cellular processes, and disease pathogenesis.
Thank you to Milda for sharing her humor and drawing skills by adding such great cartoon art around CCAM.
Siyu SunGraduateStudent Advisor: Michael J Guertin
Education: BS-SUNY Stony Brook; MS-New York University
About: Siyu Sun is a 2nd year PhD student at UConn Health. Before joining UConn Health, Siyu worked on a project focused on topoisomerases I/II’s role in regulating chromosome structure and transcription repression dosage compensation. Her current research focuses on ER-mediated transcriptional regulation through advanced sequencing techniques and bioinformatic analysis.
Rudradeep MukherjeeGraduateStudent Advisor: Michael J Guertin
Education: BE Computer Science (BIT Mesra, Ranchi); MSc Neuroscience (NBRC, Gurgaon)
About: Rudradeep Mukherjee worked for some years as a software engineer. During M.Sc. he studied resting state networks of individuals with autism by using a maximum entropy model on fMRI data. He is currently interested in understanding transcriptional roles of Twist family of factors. In his free time, he reads about the history of science, follows Japanese manga and jogs during the beautiful summer evenings.
Jinhong DongJinhong Advisor: Michael J Guertin
Education: BA Carleton College
About: After doing metagenomics research sparked an interest in bioinformatics, Jinhong is now focused on analyzing DNA- and RNA-sequencing data to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of transcription regulation and initiation.
Edwin Moses AppiahEdwin Advisor: Eran Agmon
Education: BSc. Agricultural Biotechnology, Mphil. Biodata Analytics and Computational Genomics (KNUST, Ghana)
About: Edwin is a first year Biomedical Science PhD student. Before joining the UConn health, Edwin worked on how the gastric microbiome influences gastric carcinogenesis focusing on bacterial diversity, co-occurrence patterns and predictive models. Currently, Edwin works on microbiome at the Agmon lab at CCAM with special focus on building multi-scale computational models for the gut microbiome.

Current Rotation, Project and other Visiting Students

Student Advisor Project
Nathan Schaumburger Michael Blinov Modeling of pigmentation patterns in Mimulus Monkeyflower
Natan Busel Pedro Mendes Dynamic modeling of neurons in isolation and networks using COPASI

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Amin Boroomand
Advisor: Eran Agmon
B.Sc., Agricultural Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Iran
M.Sc., Bioinformatics, University of Bologna, Italy
Ph.D., Quantitative and Systems Biology, University of California, Merced
About: Amin is a postdoctoral researcher at UConn Health. Awarded a fellowship from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he studies metabolic interactions in marine microbiomes through multiscale modeling to improve understanding of ocean carbon cycling. Amin earned his Ph.D. in Quantitative and Systems Biology with a focus on complexity and agent-based modeling. He is interested in science-based entrepreneurship and is a dedicated mentor promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM, striving to empower future scholars. In this picture, Amin is the one who is seated on the chair!

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James Bond Science Cartoon
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UCONN Undergraduate Student Trainees

2022 Shreedula Balakrishnan Lab: Vera-Licone
Project: working on tumor reversion in Leukemia using computational biology.
2021 Grace Curley-Holmes Lab: Mayer/Machida

Project: working on SH2 domain mapping.

2021 Noah Liguori-Bills
**Google Summer of Code Student**
Lab: Blinov

Project:  The Development of ModelBricks website.

2021 Nathan Schaumburger Lab: Blinov
Project: Model of aging phenotypes.
2020 Amy Flis Lab: Wu

2020 Chandrika Dhavala Lab: Blinov
Project: Visualization of rule-based model.
2020 Jennifer Kim Lab: Mendes

Project: Identification of chaos in nonlinear models by using global
optimization in COPASI.

2019 Maria Menoutis
**HRP Intern**
Lab: Loew

Project:  Rules that govern the assembly of molecular machines.

2019 Alexa Monroe Lab: Yan

2018 Gavin Till Lab: Mayer

Project: developing mathematical models to explore the role of membrane receptor clustering in regulation of signaling pathways.

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Graduate Students

Name Degree Year Advisor Current Position
Aniruddha Chattaraj PhD 2022 Loew Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
Bandita Adhikari PhD 2021 Laubenbacher Postdoctoral Fellow, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Yuezhe Li PhD 2021 Wu Research Associate, Metrum
Judy Bloom PhD 2020 Loew Medical and Scientific Associate, Chameleon Communications International
Adam Lafontaine PhD 2020 Mayer Research Associate, Metrum
Russel Posner MD/PhD 2019 Laubenbacher MD student, UConn Health
Abhijit Deb Roy PhD 2018 Wu Postdoc, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Clifford Locke MD/PhD 2018 Wu Hospital Medicine Specialist, Yale New Haven Health
René N Rovozzo PhD 2018 Carson Educational Program Assistant, Physiology and Neurobiology Dept, UConn Storrs
Ahmed Elmokadem PhD 2017 Yu Research Scientist, Metrum
Marc Rigatti MD/PhD 2017 Kafka/Moraru Emergency Medicine Resident, UConn Health
Olena Marchenko PhD 2017 Loew/Dodge  Bioinformatics Engineer, Simons Foundation 
Sofya Borinskaya PhD 2015 Loew Assistant Professor, Saint Elizabeth University, NJ 
Ronghua Yang MD/PhD Loew/Liang  Internal Medicine Resident, Rutgers Medical School
Erika Hoyos-Ramirez PhD  2014 Loew Postdoc, Yale School of Medicine 
Akeisha Belgrave PhD  2013 Wolgemuth Assistant Professor, Harrisburg University
Eunji Kim PhD 2013  Yu Managing Director, Alzheimer’s Consulting & Services 
Jonathon Ditlev PhD 2012 Mayer/Loew Assistant Professor, University of Toronto 
Sherry-Ann Brown MD/PhD 2012 Loew Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Postdoctoral Fellows

Name Year Advisor Current Position
Sulagna Das 2014 Yu Tenure track faculty position at Emory University

Undergraduate Students

Name Program Year Advisor Current Position
Nathan Schaumburger, UConn PhD Biomedical Science Program, Summer Rotation 2022 Blinov PhD Candidate, Biomedical Sciences, Harvard
Daniel Fairchild, UConn PhD Biomedical Science Program, Summer Rotation 2021 Acker PhD Candidate, Biomedical Sciences, UConn Health
Devin Kot-Thompson, UConn Health Research Program (HRP) 2021 Acker Completing B.S. in Biomedical Engineering
Morgan Neydorff, UConn Health Research Program (HRP) 2020 Acker Graduated, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering

Google Summer of Code Students

Name School Year Advisor
Sahil Jha Amity University, India 2020 Blinov
Saksham Raghuvanshi J.S.S Academy of Technical Education, India 2020 Blinov
Nikita Mahoviya National Institute of Technology Hamirpur (H.P.), India 2021 Blinov and Cowan
Noah Liguori-Bills UConn, Storrs, CT 2021 Blinov