Course Catalog

Chemical and Systems Biology


Tobias Meyer, PhD

Department web site:

Faculty of Chemical and Systems Biology:

Courses offered by the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology are listed under the subject code CSB on Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

In Autumn of 2006, the Department of Molecular Pharmacology changed its name to become the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology. The department has established a new PhD program in Chemical and Systems Biology. Molecular Pharmacology PhD students who enrolled prior to Autumn 2007 have the option of receiving their PhD in either Molecular Pharmacology or Chemical and Systems Biology. PhD students matriculated in Autumn 2007 and thereafter are admitted to Chemical and Systems Biology. Further details about degree require­ments are available from the department.



Students in the PhD program may apply for an MS degree after having satisfactorily completed the course and laboratory requirements of the first two years. The degree also requires a written thesis based on literature or laboratory research. Postdoctoral research training is available to graduates having the PhD or MD degree.


The Department of Chemical and Systems Biology offers interdisciplinary training to prepare students for independent careers in biomedical science. The main focus of the program is cell signaling, chemical biology, and systems biology.

The program leading to the PhD degree includes formal and informal study in chemical biology, systems biology, drug discovery, biochemistry, and other areas of relevance to the interests of particular students. First-year students spend one quarter in each of three different laboratories, working closely with other graduate students, a professor, and postdoctoral fellows on various research projects. During the fourth quarter, the student chooses a faculty mentor with whom to undertake thesis research, based on available positions and the student’s interest. During or before the eighth quarter of study, students must pass a qualifying exam, which consists of an oral exam on general knowledge and a defense of a research proposal. Course requirements are fulfilled during the first two years of study; the later years of the four- to six-year program are devoted to full-time dissertation research. Close tutorial contact between students and faculty is stressed throughout the program.

Research opportunities also exist for medical students and undergraduates. The limited size of the labs in the department allows for close tutorial contact between students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

The department participates in the Health and Human Disease (HHD) and Practice of Medicine (POM) course sequences, which provide medical students with a comprehensive, systems-based education in physiology, pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology.

Course and lab instruction in the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology conforms to the Policy on the Use of Vertebrate Animals in Teaching Activities.


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