Computational Systems Biophysics



Jose M. G. Vilar
Ikerbasque Professor

Biophysics Unit (CSIC-UPV/EHU)
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of the Basque Country
P.O. Box 644, 48080 Bilbao, Spain

Phone: (+34) 94 601 3450 | Fax: (+34) 94 601 3360
E-mail: | Web:

Scientific Career




Honors and Awards


The traditional experimental approach to the study of the functioning of cells has been remarkably successful at identifying cellular components and their interactions. Current automated technologies have brought the cartoon-like representations of cellular processes to exponentially growing webs of nodes and links that seem as close to completion as ever. The complexity of the emerging picture, however, makes it clear that all this information by itself is not enough to truly understand processes such as cancer. In order to piece back together all the genetic, biochemical, molecular, and structural information into a physiologically relevant description of the cell, one needs "constructive" methods. Computational modeling has emerged as a promising tool for transforming molecular detail into a more integrated form of understanding complex behavior.

We use computational and mathematical modeling to study biological networks that are relevant to cancer. We are interested, not only in the interactions between cellular components, but also in the resulting cellular behavior and its integration into the physiological context of an organism. We study computationally how mutations affect the molecular properties of the cellular components; how the mutated components affect different pathways; and how these modified pathways confer cell-growth advantages during tumor progression and metastasis. Having a global view of all these processes and their effects through all relevant levels of biological organization is crucial to identify and characterize the key control elements of the system.

We are currently working on:
We are also developing new computational approaches to determine, capture, and use the relevant biological information. We are especially interested in stochastic analyses and in multilevel and multiscale methods.


Press commentaries on our research:

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Open Source Software

Articles in journals

Book chapters


D. Reguera, J. M. G. Vilar, and J. M. Rubi (eds.), Statistical Mechanics of Biocomplexity, Lecture Notes in Physics (Springer Verlag, Berlin 1999).


Selected invited talks



Jose Vilar (Ikerbasque Professor)

Want to join? See opportunities below!

Former (VilarLab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2004-2008)

Leonor Saiz (Visiting Investigator, 2004-2007)
Currently, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Lab Head, University of California, Davis (2007-)

Wenying Shou (Postdoc, 2006-2007)
Currently, Assistant Member & Lab Head, Basic Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (2007-)

Anamika Sarkar (Postdoc, 2004-2005)
Currently, Assistant Scientist, Iyengar Laboratory, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (2005-)

Ori Weitz (Rotation Student, Tri-i CBM program, 2006)
Pawel Kocieniewski (Rotation Student, Tri-i CBM program, 2007)
Fan Xia (Rotation Student, PBSB program, 2007)
Ricky Chachra (Rotation Student, PBSB program, 2008)
Igor Segota (Rotation Student, PBSB program, 2008)


There are openings for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers. To apply please contact Jose Vilar at

Last Modified 11/02/2010