What is Systems Biology?

A few weeks ago I was leading some middle school science professional development on Systems Thinking. We were focusing on the Systems EALR of the WA Science Learning Standards and the Systems Handbook I assembled. During the session, a teacher was very concerned about this approach and expressed that “this (systems thinking) is not what real scientists and researchers do”. The statement caught me off guard a bit.. as I tend to think that a systems approach is a core part of what most scientists and engineers do.

The video embedded below, What is Systems Biology?, shows Dr. Nitin Baliga from the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle, discussing the importance of a systems approach in biology.

This clip could be a useful addition to your instruction on systems in high school biology or for use in a workshop or meeting on systems thinking. Any high school life science teachers should also visit the Baliga Lab Systems Education Site.

3 responses to “What is Systems Biology?

  1. Kurt, THANK YOU! I was working with some teachers this week and we want to introduce or highlight systems biology during the first week when we are talking about what is a does it mean to be living. All the resources are here, thanks!

  2. Because Peter Senge and other consultants and business experts use the expression “systems thinking” one sometime encounters resistance to this terminology. One of my professors in graduate school suggested using “systems theory” as terminology that might be better received.

    Just a thought for what it’s worth.

    Mark Antley, MA, MS

    • Thanks Mark
      I agree there is confusion- even though the Senge “systems thinking” has many parallels to systems theory.
      I’ve also used Systems Thinking (Senge) and Thinking about Systems (Systems Theory) as a way to differentiate these ways of using a systems lens
      Kirk

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