Course Title: Systems Biology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Systems Biology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021

Course Coordinator: Dr. Kylie Boyce

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7101

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.01.006G

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Prior background in molecular and cell biology.

Course Description

This course focuses on developing understanding of the Systems Biology approach, whereby biological systems are studied from the level of molecules to populations, via multi-omics approach.


Lectures building on the fundamentals of molecular and cell biology will demonstrate and illustrate how an integrated suite of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics tools can be deployed to understand how the structure, function and activity of biological systems from cells to tissues to individual organisms and to populations and in turn how intra and inter-cellular (including environmental) signals influences the genetics, gene expression and translation within organisms and ultimately their biological function.


Theoretical background will be supplemented by laboratory sessions introducing you to the generation and analysis of Omics datasets from model organisms


The course will develop your advanced level critical thinking, problem solving and (scientific) communication skills and their application to describe, explain and interrogate complex biological systems. This will provide you with detailed understanding and the necessary skills to analyse complex biological processes and systems within the context of biology and biotechnology, either in industry or in a research environment.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following MC111 Program Learning Outcomes at AQF Level 9:


  • 1.2 You will have an understanding of recent developments in a specialised areas of food science and biotechnology
  • 2.1 You will demonstrate cognitive skills in mastery of advanced theoretical knowledge in food science and biotechnology and apply this knowledge to solve complex problems in existing and new areas.
  • 2.2 You will generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts at an abstract level.
  • 3.1   Demonstrating creativity, initiative and a high level of autonomy in research and/or professional practice
  • 5.3 You will demonstrate knowledge of the regulatory frameworks and ethical principles relevant to biotechnology

On the successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate theoretical and technical understanding of Systems Biology (Omics) approaches to the study of biological systems from the levels of molecules to cells, tissues, organisms and populations.
  2. Critically analyse, interpret and explain omics data.
  3. Summarise and synthesize and evaluate primary scientific literature.
  4. Communicate clearly and effectively using correct scientific language and conventions.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • studying learning materials from lectures  and participation in tutorials where theoretical material will be introduced, including discussion and exploration of key research literature;
  • undertake laboratory activities designed to provide practical application and analysis of omics methods and resulting datasets
  • completion of written assignments focusing on the analysis, presentation and discussion of biological omics data requiring application of theoretical knowledge to experimental data
  • private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Overview of Learning Resources

There are no prescribed text or recommended books for this course. Students should obtain material appropriate to their individual assessment topic by searching appropriate data bases e.g. Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Current Contents, PubMed etc.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Literature Review Assignment

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 2: Journal Club Assignment

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 3: Formative Assessment (quizzes and short answer questions)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 4: Practical Assessments 

Weighting 35% (2 x Reports - 25% and 10%)

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4