Courses » Computational Systems Biology

Computational Systems Biology


Every living cell is the result beautifully concerted interplay of metabolic, signalling and regulatory networks. Systems biology has heralded a systematic quantitative approach to study these complex networks, to understand, predict and manipulate biological systems. Systems biology has had a positive impact on metabolic engineering as well as the pharmaceutical industry. This course seeks to introduce key concepts of mathematical modelling, in the context of different types biological networks. The course will cover important concepts from network biology, modelling of dynamic systems and parameter estimation, as well as constraint-based metabolic modelling. Finally, we will also touch upon some of the cutting-edge topics in the field. The course has a significant hands-on component, emphasizing various software tools and computational methods for systems biology.

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Note: Content is Free!

All content including discussion forum and assignments, is free

Final Exam (in-person, invigilated, currently conducted in India) is mandatory for Certification and has INR Rs. 1100 as exam fee



UG/PG: All levels

PREREQUISITES: Basic knowledge of a high-level programming language (preferably MATLAB)

INDUSTRY SUPPORT: Bioprocess industries / Computational Biology Companies, e.g. MedGenome, Vantage Research

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Dr. Karthik Raman is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Karthik’s research group at IIT Madras works on the development of algorithms and computational tools to understand, predict and manipulate complex biological networks. The key areas of research in his group encompass in silico metabolic engineering, biological networks and biological data analysis. Karthik also co-ordinates the Initiative for Biological Systems Engineering at IIT Madras and is a core member of the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI).


Week 1  :  Introduction to Mathematical Modelling
Week 2  :  Introduction to Static Networks
Week 3  :  Network Biology and Applications
Week 4  :  Reconstruction of Biological Networks
Week 5  :  Dynamic Modelling of Biological Systems: Introduction, Solving ODEs 
& Parameter Estimation
Week 6  :  Evolutionary Algorithms, Guest Lectures on Modelling in Drug Development
Week 7  :  Constraint-based approaches to Modelling Metabolic Networks
Week 8  :  Perturbations to Metabolic Networks
Week 9  :  Elementary Modes, Applications of Constraint-based Modelling
Week 10:  Constraint-based Modelling Recap, 13C Metabolic Flux Analysis
Week 11:  Modelling Regulation, Host-pathogen interactions, Robustness of Biological Systems
Week 12:  Advanced topics: Robustness and Evolvability, Introduction to Synthetic Biology, Perspectives & Challenges


•  Voit E (2012) A First Course in Systems Biology. Garland Science, 1/e. ISBN 0815344678 • Klipp E (2009) Systems biology: a textbook. Wiley-VCH, 1/e. ISBN 9783527318742 • Newman MEJ (2011) Networks: an introduction. Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 9780199206650
  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date and Time of Exam: October 28 (Sunday)
  • Time of Exam: Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon session: 2pm to 5pm
  • Exam for this course will be available in both morning & afternoon sessions
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.
  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of  Best 8 out of 12 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras.It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.