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A student in the lab.
Why QSB?
Quantitative and Systems Biology aims to accelerate the pace at which paradigm-shifting discoveries transform biology.
Masters of Discovery
Innovative By Design

New Concentrations Available

QSB is the graduate program that focuses on the biological sciences. It is the largest graduate program at UC Merced, and, by design, is highly integrative and interdisciplinary. The QSB curriculum is largely tailored to the student’s needs and research interests, and the participating faculty comprise a broad cross section of expertise in the biological sciences. The program now offers degrees with elective concentrations in Molecular and Cellular Biology (including biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, immunology, microbiology, neurobiology, and physiology) and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. These elective concentrations appear on transcripts.

Accelerating Biological Discovery Through Innovation

Whether your passion is to reduce human suffering from disease, mitigate climate-change effects on ecosystems, or advance how we understand, explain and predict living systems, your career will benefit from the unique competitive advantages of a QSB degree.

Featured Faculty

Chris Amemiya
My laboratory is interested in the genetic basis and EvoDevo of vertebrate innovations.
David Ardell
The Ardell Laboratory at UC Merced is a computational biology lab that uses machine learning, data science and multi-scale theoretical models to...
Associate Professor
Computational biology and evolution of gene expression mechanisms
Miriam Barlow
Experimental evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria
Laura Beaster-Jones
Associate Teaching Professor
Discipline-Based Education Research--student self-efficacy and motivations
Michael Beman
Associate Professor
Microbial ecology and biogeochemical cycling in the oceans
Gordon M. Bennett
Assistant Professor
Evolution of animal-microbial symbioses
Associate Professor
Terrestrial paleoecology, niche and community modeling and phylochronology
Wei-Chun Chin
Polymer physics and engineering of cellular and environmental systems
Associate Professor
Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression during nervous system development
Classical molecular dynamics is the simulation of chemicals using the simplest atomistic model where each atom is a tiny mass with a charge interconnected...
Classical molecular dynamics simulations of flexible proteins and nucleic acids.
Professor Michael Dawson
Evolutionary ecology, biogeography and phylogeography of marine invertebrates.
Eva de Alba
Associate Professor
Molecular and mechanistic bases of cellular processes essential to life from a biochemical and biophysics perspective.
Betsy Dumont
Research focuses on understanding the relationships between morphology, behavior and performance in a variety of vertebrates including bat, carnivoran and avian species.
Bercem Dutagaci
Assistant Professor
Molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning modeling of biomolecular systems with a focus on RNA polymerase dynamics, function, and spatial organizations.
Danielle Edwards
The Edwards Lab studies how the environment shapes the evolution of phenotypes and behavior during divergence, speciation and diversification of...
Assistant Professor
Ecological, phenotypic, genomic and behavioral evolution of reptiles and amphibians; Conservation genetics/genomics
Roberto Andresen Eguiluz
Assistant Professor
Understanding how molecular interactions and forces across several length scales affect function in biology
Calcium in cardiac cellular signaling and techniques to study cardiac cells in vivo
It is now widely recognized that microbiomes dictate many traits of their host. For example, the plant microbiome can act as a second immune system,...
Associate Professor
Plant microbiomes; function, community assembly, transmission, and dispersal.
Marcos Garcia-Ojeda
Associate Teaching Professor
Discipline-Based Education Research, didactic methods, microbiology
Xuecai Ge
We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment and its related diseases, focusing on the primary cilium, an antenna-like...
Assistant Professor
Cell signaling in neural development, brain tumors and neurological disorders
Arvind Gopinath
Assistant Professor
The focus of the Gopinath Lab is to combine experimental observations with minimal analytical models, phenomenological mesoscale theories and agent-based discrete computations to understand the origin of function in living matter at scales ranging from the molecular to multicellular.
Theory at the interface of biophysics and soft condensed matter physics
Juris Grasis
Dr. Juris Grasis leads a research team utilizing viral metagenomics to investigate viral ecology and evolution in host-associated systems. Further, the...
Assistant Professor
Viral metagenomics, systems immunology, microbiome regulation, viral/antiviral discovery
Terrestrial microbial and ecosystem ecology, plant-soil interactions
Assistant Professor
Epigenetic and transcriptional networks and metabolic engineering of yeasts
Linda Hirst
Experimental soft matter physics and biophysics
Katrina Hoyer
Associate Professor
Immunological tolerance and auto-immune disease, regulatory T cells
Kirk Jensen
Assistant Professor
Parasite pathogenesis and immunology, toxoplasma and host-immune responses
Shilpa Khatri
Assistant Professor
Numerical Analysis, Fluid Dynamics, Applied Math, Applications in Biology and Oceanography
Petra Kranzfelder
Assistant Teaching Professor
Discipline-Based Education Research, biology teaching and learning methods, entomology and aquatic ecology
Assistant Professor
Cancer imaging, cancer therapy, fluorescence molecular tomography, x-ray imaging, biomedical imaging system and algorithm
Assistant Professor
Transport of microorganisms in complex environments, mechanics of biological media and mechanical metamaterials
Professor Patricia LiWang has been at UC Merced since 2008, and works on protein biochemistry and structural biology. Her work involves proteins that have...
The P. LiWang Lab uses protein biochemistry to study HIV prevention, HIV eradication, and anti-inflammatory strategies.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Limb and skeletal development, genetics of bone metabolism, transcriptomics
Jennifer Manilay
Developmental immunology, cell fate regulation, hematopoiesis
Stefan C. Materna
Assistant Professor
Genomic control of gene expression, gene regulatory networks in organismal development.
Kara McCloskey
Associate Professor
Stem cell and tissue engineering for regenerative medicine applications
Emily Jane McTavish
Assistant Professor
Large scale evolutionary inference Data that can be used to answer evolutionary questions is being generated on unprecedented scales. How can we take advantage of evolutionary information in large data sets, in a way that is biologically informed, statistically rigorous and computationally efficient? We apply these techniques to data in a range of biological systems, from disease outbreaks, to cattle and humans, to the entire tree of life!
Emily Moran
Assistant Professor
Evolutionary ecology of plant responses to environmental change
Victor Muñoz
Structural Biology, Computational Biochemistry and Protein Engineering: Protein Folding, Function and Disease; Molecular Mechanisms of Gene Expression, Fluorescence Biosensors, Molecular Diagnostics
Chih-Wen Ni
Assistant Professor
Gene regulation in vascular development and genetic engineering
Michele Nishiguchi
Host-microbe interactions and microbial ecology. My research as an evolutionary microbiologist spans the bridge between microbial ecology and the evolution of beneficial associations and is best known for deciphering the mechanisms for bacterial specificity that occur in animal hosts.
Insulin resistance; cardiorenal and metabolic disorders; comparative physiology of Northern Elephant Seals.
Associate Professor
Stem cell regulation, cancer and regeneration in planarians
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Molecular evolution, gene/genome structure, intragenomic conflict, balancing selection, sex chromosomes and determination
Assistant Professor
Epigenetics of neuronal gene expression during brain development & function
Associate Professor
Plant adaptation, species range limits biological invasions and evolutionary conservation science
Associate Professor
Mathematical biology, dynamical systems and computational biology and bioinformatics
Mark Sistrom
Assistant Professor
We study evolutionary hypotheses in bacterial and viral systems using a combination of computational and laboratory genomic approaches
Paul Smaldino
Assistant Professor
Population dynamics, social and cultural evolution, self-organization, mathematical and computational modeling
E. Maggie Sogin
Assistant Professor
Exploration into how microorganisms use molecules to interact with their eukaryotic hosts and their environment. The Sogin lab employs a cross-disciplinary approach that combines metabolomic and meta'omic analyses with experimental and computational analyses.
Joel Spencer
Assistant Professor
The Spencer lab is involved in engineering new optical imaging technologies and using these technologies to study, in vivo, the microenvironments and cellular dynamics within tissues.
Anand Bala Subramaniam
Assistant Professor
Synthetic Biology, Soft Matter Physics, Colloid and Interface Science, Microfabrication and Microfluidics
Shahar Sukenik
Assistant Professor
Biophysical chemistry, structural biology; Understanding the interplay between proteins and their environment by combining biophysical methods and live cell microscopy
Mike Thompson
Molecular motion is critical for protein function, but it remains challenging to study the structural dynamics of complex molecules in atomic detail. My goal is to develop new types of structural and biophysical experiments that transcend the limitations of traditional techniques, allowing us to map structural interconversions at high spatial and temporal resolution.
DOE Joint Genome Institute/Associate Adjunct Professor
Sequence-based approaches to studying microbial community assembly, function and dynamics
Christopher Viney
Biomolecular materials, biologically inspired material synthesis and processing
Adjunct Professor
Human functional genomics and enhancers in development and disease
Associate Adjunct Professor
Applications of high-performance computing to big-sequencing data and machine learning
Fred Wolf
We are interested in how an animal with a specific history and internal state responds to cues in a stereotyped manner. We use unbiased phenotypic and...
Associate Professor
Genetic and neural coding of behavior in Drosophila
UC Merced Professor Stephanie Woo
Assistant Professor
Tissue morphogenesis, Control of cell migration and cell adhesion during development
Tanja Woyke
Adjunct Associate Professor
Research in the Woyke laboratory focuses on the utility of single-cell methods to access genetic material of uncultivated taxa of interest. One such effort is targeted at environmental cells that are from candidate phyla, major branches in the phylogenetic tree without cultivated representatives
Jing Xu
Associate Professor
Experimental biophysics, quantitative biology single-molecule analysis of molecular motors
Assistant Professor
Animal foraging and food web dynamics over space and time
Assistant Professor
Structural, biochemical and functional studies of membrane transport proteins

Our Research

The QSB graduate program trains students in quantitative and interdisciplinary biology research, with particular emphasis on Molecular and Cell Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Systems and Synthetic Biology, and Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics.


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Our Facilities

QSB researchers access top-notch facilities including the Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry (SCIF), a shared high-performance computing (HPC) cluster for Multi-Environment Research Computer for Exploration and Discovery (MERCED), and a shared Illumina MiSeq.

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Featured News

January 14, 2021

Two new projects designed and led by UC Merced researchers will address challenges facing many Californians — wildfire recovery and agricultural labor — but will also have global reach. Both are...

December 21, 2020

Professor Tao Ye and colleagues have received a $1.18 million grant from the Department of Energy to study how DNA molecules can arrange themselves into nanostructures that could form the basis of...

November 24, 2020

About 35 percent of Americans have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises the risk of cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in the United States. If you have three of...

Quantitative and Systems Biology

Advances in techniques and theory that bridge molecular and ecosystems scales have greatly enabled the potential for integration across the life sciences. Biologists' ability to gather and process large amounts of quantitative data in field and laboratory settings is advancing hand-in-hand with theory and modeling that better explain the diversity of life on Earth.