Five Things to Know About the Center for Systems Biology

Helium ion microscopy of the proximal tubule brush border showing how microvilli are organized at the apex of the cell. Image by Dennis Brown, PhD, Center for Systems Biology

The Center for Systems Biology (CSB) at Massachusetts General Hospital is one of five thematic research centers where clinicians and scientists conduct innovative biomedical research to treat and prevent human disease and bring the latest advances to patient care. 

The CSB focuses on analyzing how the human body’s biological and physiological functions work together to impact health and disease. Here are five things to know.

Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, is the director of the CSB. Weissleder is a renowned radiologist working on reconciling the gap that exists between traditional cell biology and human biology. His work on imaging, nanomaterials and miniaturized chips has led to a number of advanced clinical trials and he serves as co-founder and advisor to several biotech companies.

Unlike some specialties that require focusing on one specific organ, systems biology encompasses several. Researchers working in systems biology analyze how molecules, proteins and cells interact in both healthy and diseased states throughout the body.

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Systems biology approaches are generalizable to a variety of diseases, but the Mass General CSB specializes in complex human conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and renal disease.

The CSB is consists 13 laboratories led by:

The center frequently partners with the Harvard Medical School Department of Systems Biologyclinical departments at Mass Generalother Mass General thematic centersMIT, and the Broad Institute.


About the Mass General Research Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to develop innovative new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.
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