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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Systems Biology by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

533 ratings

About the Course

This course will introduce the student to contemporary Systems Biology focused on mammalian cells, their constituents and their functions. Biology is moving from molecular to modular. As our knowledge of our genome and gene expression deepens and we develop lists of molecules (proteins, lipids, ions) involved in cellular processes, we need to understand how these molecules interact with each other to form modules that act as discrete functional systems. These systems underlie core subcellular processes such as signal transduction, transcription, motility and electrical excitability. In turn these processes come together to exhibit cellular behaviors such as secretion, proliferation and action potentials. What are the properties of such subcellular and cellular systems? What are the mechanisms by which emergent behaviors of systems arise? What types of experiments inform systems-level thinking? Why do we need computation and simulations to understand these systems? The course will develop multiple lines of reasoning to answer the questions listed above. Two major reasoning threads are: the design, execution and interpretation of multivariable experiments that produce large data sets; quantitative reasoning, models and simulations. Examples will be discussed to demonstrate “how” cell- level functions arise and “why” mechanistic knowledge allows us to predict cellular behaviors leading to disease states and drug responses....

Top reviews


Feb 6, 2016

Very useful course in order to learn the basics in systems biology. You only need some training in biology to understand the concepts but the course is easy to follow and very complete.


Aug 7, 2019

Great foundational material and insights from Prof. Iyengar that supports the 'disruptive' trends underway at the intersection of Computational Biology and Medicine.

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76 - 100 of 109 Reviews for Introduction to Systems Biology

By Ewa B

Feb 7, 2016

Great course! The only change i would ask for: after the test, could you let us see the correct response to the questions we got wrong? Thanks!

By Rafael d S S

Jul 15, 2019

O curso é muito complicado para quem não conhecimento em modelos estáticos específicos.

Mas é muito interessante e muito abrangente.

By Akash R

Jun 12, 2020

The content of this course is quiet good, but is little bit hard to digest. Overall, I gained a lot of things from this course.

By Lianne A

Sep 1, 2017

Excellent course, could be improved by explaining the more difficult concepts in greater depth, e.g. ODE and PDE math.

By Alejandro V (

May 30, 2017

Great new area to explore and study, however some subjects were not explained adequately.

By Md. M H

Feb 27, 2016

Very very informative course for the beginners like me!

By Jiho C

Mar 9, 2017

Good lecture, but not systematic curriculum

By Mariya P

Nov 26, 2019

Instructor is very hard to engage with.

By Boudalia M E A

Jan 1, 2016

a bit to hard for an introduction cours

By Arpita R

Aug 2, 2022

Excellent course work!

By Kang c

Jun 14, 2016

A very useful course!

By Chalasani S S N

Apr 10, 2019


By Jorge A G M

Mar 3, 2023

I have mixed feelings about the course.

In general I greatly appreciate the attempt of organizing a curse on such a complex, highly interdisciplinary, extensive and relatively recent (which implies that not all concepts are yet well defined) field as systems biology is. However, as others have mentioned, it was done in a very poorly way.

My background is in physics and mathematics and over the past 3 years I've been working in computational biology. I've learned a lot about the topics involved in the projects I've worked on, but I was missing an overall, encompassing perspective. This course greatly helped with that. It helped me to order things in my head and to understand 'where' the knowledge I have 'sits' in the scope of systems biology. I also liked the clearly, carefully selected papers and the historical perspective Prof. Iyengar provides on them and on the field.

However, I would not recommend this to a new comer. The only reason I got these things out of it is because of my previous experience, I more or less knew what they were talking about or where to find further info. The presentation of the topics is rather messy and it seems to be assumed that you are familiar with the jargon and technicisms of molecular biology and mathematics, which is adequate for a seminar but horrible as introductory material. The exercises often implement different terminology and conventions and sometimes they involved topics that weren't covered in the lectures nor reading recommendations. Homework and tests are supposed to be challenging, but I expect them to be so (perhaps, a habit from math and physics that doesn't translate to biology) because I need to find a way to combine the concepts I know from class and not because I'm missing half of the information.

By Bruno A T P

Jan 20, 2016

With a biology background I had some difficulty following this course. That is understandable, as a lot of it relies in mathematical modelling and statistics. I still felt like some exam questions relied on material not yet lectured, which would sometimes leave me at a loss as to how I should have gotten to the right question in the first place. The lectures could have been structured differently, so as to facilitate engagement - I found myself easily losing focus and having to repeat the videos. Despite its shortcomings, the course is still a powerful introduction to Systems Biology.

By Hector F C M

Jul 2, 2019

I have to thank for this virtual course, however although this course is '' introduction '' it supposes that the participants have advanced concepts that are not explained, in many moments the literature is inconclusive, there is no literature that allows a basic revision on the topics that we are learning; The evlauacion is not according to what has been learned and in many cases it is based more on the memory than on the analysis.

By Tom S

Jan 24, 2023

some subjects are mentioned without enough explanation. It seems that the goal is to understand the big picture but sometimes hard to follow without understand the micro details.

By Karl D

Jul 26, 2017

Good overview of systems biology, but the graded tests are somewhat difficult to understand for someone without a biology background such as myself.

By Connie N

Oct 1, 2020

Really interesting content, but could use a rework on formatting, style, and clarity.

By Alan R d F K M

Jan 20, 2020

Could give more basic information about systems theory

By Milena J

Feb 12, 2016

The lectures were somehow chaotic.

By Mainak B

Feb 23, 2020

Tough and brain storming

By Tim D

May 7, 2021

While the course did present a few topics that may be of concern to a systems biologist, I'm very disappointed with the effort that went into presenting the material in a digestible, coherent way. After completing the course, rather than feeling like I just took an engaging course online, I feel a bit like someone had the radio tuned to a Systems Biology station in the other room while I did chores. The big issues are (1) The course is years old and hasn't been updated for this fast-moving field, (2) The lectures style is scattered, (3) The review material doesn't connect strongly to the lecture material, and (4) The video production is pretty low-effort.

By Soheyl M

Nov 27, 2020

The explanations in the course are extremely superficial and do not add anything to the PowerPoint presented in each course. In addition, most of the articles presented in the lectures are hardly discussed which makes it difficult to understand for a beginner in this field.

By Circe M

Aug 11, 2017

Course material was not presented in a matter that flowed naturally. Completing the course didn't lend greatly to my overall understanding in the area though I understand certain aspects very well.

By Carolina A

Apr 19, 2020

I found that the lectures didn't guide me enough. I download the articles and read extra material. I will look for another course to learn more of this part of the specialization.