Systems biology


Why study Systems Biology at Vilnius University?

Interdisciplinary program that prepares highly-qualified scientists for professional career

The interdisciplinary Systems Biology Master’s program prepares students to do real world work in rapidly developing fields including, but not limited to, biological systems modeling, bioengineering, synthetic biology, bioinformatics, neurobiology, and data analysis. It is ideal for current and future biologists who wish to take advantage of the most powerful statistical models and programming tools in order to produce quantifiable results in their field of choice.

Rewarding program structure introduces future life-scientists to powerful statistical models and information technologies

As per its interdisciplinary nature, our program is specifically designed to help students from a life sciences background overcome any apprehensions they may have about working with statistical models and scientific programming tools. Upon completion of the program students will have gained a robust understanding of mathematics and computer science, as well as their varied applications to life sciences.

Similarly, students with computational and bioinformatics backgrounds will have a possibility to gain and deepen their knowledge in molecular and cellular biology and master wetlab skills.

Forward-looking curriculum equips scientists for leadership in rapidly emerging fields

Emerging trends in synthetic biology point us to new fields that focus towards quantitative investigation, experimentation and design at the molecular level. As a result, fields in neurobiology, cell programming, and “-omic” sciences create a vast demand for professionals equipped with both a high-level understanding of biological principles and the ability to take advantage of advanced mathematical and statistical models. The Systems Biology Masters program seeks to meet this demand.

Learning Environment

Leading faculty

The Systems Biology Master’s program is developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, Life Sciences Center and Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius University. Courses are taught by faculty members with a breadth and depth of expertise and experience in private and public institutions.

State-of-the-art facilities

Systems biology classes and hands on work will take place in the auditoriums and laboratories of central campus of Faculty of Medicine(MF) at M.K.Čiurlionio 21/27, Vilnius, department of Human and Medical Genetics at Santariškių g. 2, Vilnius, Center of Life Sciences (GMC) at Saulėtekio al. 9, Vilnius and Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (MIF) at Didlaukio g. 47, Vilnius.

Students accepted into the program will have access to the Life Sciences Centre – a state-of-the-art facility opened in 2016. The Life Sciences Centre provides students and researchers access to cutting-edge equipment, such as X-ray crystallography system, Mass spectrometers and liquid chromatography systems for proteomics analysis, High Pressure liquid chromatography system mass detector (HPLC-MS system), Atomic force microscope, Automated system for cell imaging, sequencing platforms and many others.

Modern and state-of-the-art sequencing and genotyping equipment is available at the department of Human and Medical Genetics such as HiScanSQ System (Illumina), 3730 DNA Analyzer (Applied Biosystems | Hitachi), PCR system ABI PRISMTM 7900HT (Applied Biosystems), Agilent SureScan Microarray Scanner, florescent microscopy system MultiPhor II (GE Healthcare) and other equipment to carry molecular genetics research.

Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics hosts 165 computerized workplaces located through the 11 computer class auditoriums. Students will work with the operating system of their choice - Windows, Linux and Apple iOS. The faculty also has open access computerized workstations. A supercomputer (installed in 2012) is available to students and professors to perform research and high throughput computations either in the cloud or through the access to the specific supercomputing resources and GRID.

International community

Located in the heart of the Lithuanian capital, the Vilnius University campus is a hub for international students and activities, taking in around 700 exchange students each year, along with 30+ international graduate students in the Faculty of Medicine alone.

Study programme

International accreditation

The Systems Biology Master’s program is assessed and accredited by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. The Centre ensures program adherence to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, which is designed to maintain equivalent higher education standards throughout Europe and ensures that degrees are granted official recognition throughout the European Union.

Curriculum

Along with the compulsory curriculum and the Master’s Thesis, students are also offered electives that help them fill any gaps that may not have been covered by their previous studies. Short course descriptions can be found here.

COMPULSORY COURSES:

  • Genomics
  • Data mining
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Epigenomics
  • Transcriptomics
  • Proteomics
  • Neurobiology
  • Mathematical physiology
  • Science forum

Electives for students with:

a LIFE or HEALTH SCIENCES background:

  • GNU/Linux type operating systems
  • Programming for biological data analysis
  • Multivariate statistics with R

an INFORMATICS or PHYSICAL background:

  • Human physiology
  • Genome structure
  • Cell biology

In their final semester, students will complete and defend a Master’s Thesis.

Learning Outcomes

  • Know cell structure and behavioural patterns at the molecular level and the functions of human organs and systems and the mechanisms of physiological regulation
  • Be able to analyse, manage and model data from the field of system biology with the aim to develop new technologies
  • Be able select an appropriate modelling strategy for a given biological domain or problem, and be able to set-up as well as lead projects for fundamental or applied research with the aim to develop new technologies in order to solve arising issues
  • Be able to gather and analyse information on research related to system biology with a critical approach, and to carry out a technological watch
  • Know and apply modern research methods in genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics and neurobiology
  • Be able to interpret mathematical models describing evolutionary processes of biological systems
  • Comprehend advanced data processing and programming techniques
  • Be able perform practical calculations using modern high-performance open computing platforms
  • Be able to describe evolutionary processes of biological systems in mathematical language
  • Be able to perform practical and theoretical work in system biology within the deadlines and in accordance with the bioethics requirements
  • Have summarising skills enabling them to communicate in a clear manner with specialists from other fields or the public about professional project, on work results, or about the results of tasks
  • Be able to work autonomously and as a part of a multidisciplinary team; act honestly and according to ethical obligations
  • Be able to critically analyse their own professional practices with a view to improving them.

Career Prospects

The Systems Biology program prepares scientists for lucrative and rewarding professional careers in public and private sectors, as well as for further academic pursuit at the PhD level. Upon completing the program, students can go on to work in roles such as:

  • Bioinformatician
  • Biological and biomedical information database’s curator
  • Scientist
  • Systems analyst, biomedical data modeller
  • High throughput -omics Data analyst
  • Cell programmer
  • Cell scientist
  • Biological technician
  • Laboratory manager
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Biomedical data scientist
  • Statisctical genomics and genetics specialist
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Bioprostetic and rehab equipment engineer

Admission Requirements and Selection Criteria

Requirements:

Bachelor's degree or its equivalent in study areas such as Informatics, Physical, Life or Health sciences;

English language proficiency – the level not lower than B2 (following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), or TOEFL score 75/IELTS score 6.

Selection Criteria:

CV, prepared according to Europass

Scientific essay – Candidate should prepare scientific essay (in English, max 7000 characters (no spaces)) in one of announced topics. Topics and instructions for the essay are here.

Tuition, Living Expenses and Funding

Tuition

Systems biology program will have from 4 to 6 government funded positions. Tuition fee for EU/EEA students 3236 EUR/year, as for non-EU/EEA students 7500 EUR/year.

Funding Opportunities

In addition to government funded positions one of the best students will receive a scholarship.

Tuition waver will be awarded to 5 most motivated and competitive international non EU/EEA students applying for Vilnius University Master programmes taught in English or Russian language. This scholarship covers full cost of the tuition fee. More information.

Other funding opportunities might become available through The Education Exchanges Support Foundation and support from industrial partners of Systems Biology program.

Mobility

Students can participate in ERASMUS+ mobility programme or use VU’s Bilateral cooperation agreements which gives an opportunity to study at VU’s Partner Universities or do internship abroad.

Useful links

Contact

  • admissions [at] cr [dot] vu [dot] lt
  • systems [dot] biology [at] mf [dot] vu [dot] lt