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Minor Modelling in the Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and computational approaches have become indispensable for modern research in the life sciences and call for students with an interdisciplinary background. The minor ‘Modelling in the Life Sciences’ provides a unique opportunity to explore the interface between biology, medicine, mathematics, physics and computer science, and prepares students for cutting-edge research in the theoretical life sciences.

The minor offers a coherent program of courses that covers all aspects of modelling, ranging from model development, analysis and interpretation, to the implementation of simulation software and the presentation of theoretical work. Students are introduced to applications of modelling from a wide range of disciplines in the life sciences, supported by the involvement of theory-oriented researchers working in bio-informatics, systems biology, evolutionary genetics, behavioural ecology, community ecology, artificial intelligence, cultural evolution and several other fields. The program of the minor can be completed in a single semester (Ia and Ib), but can also be spread out. Initially, students develop a solid background in modelling and model analysis such that, by the end of the semester, they are able to execute their own theoretical research project in an area of interest.

The 30 ECTS program of the minor allows students from various backgrounds to tailor their courses to their individual needs (subject to approval by the coordinators of the minor; see the guidelines explained below). The default program, which can be completed in a single semester, combines two (compulsory) biology-oriented courses (‘Biological Modelling and Model Analysis’ and ‘Modelling in the Life Science Research’), with skill-oriented courses in mathematics and computer programming (‘Mathematics in the Life Sciences’ and ‘C++ for Biologists (BSc)’). The latter two courses are compulsory for life science students, unless they have sufficient initial background in mathematics and programming (this applies, for example, if they have completed one of the substitute courses listed below). Students with a background in mathematics, physics or computer sciences have an opportunity to learn more about biological complexity and can use the flexible part of the program (10 ECTS) to follow relevant biology-oriented courses (options include Systems Biology, Self-organisation in Ecological and Social Systems and Bioinformatics). More detailed information about the program of the minor is provided with the descriptions of the individual courses. For additional information and questions about options for substituting courses from the default programme, please contact Sander van Doorn.

Default programme of the minor Modelling in the Life Sciences
Course Period ECTS Coordinator/Lecturer
Mathematics in the Life Sciences (*) Sep 5 Weissing, Etienne
Biological Modelling and Model Analysis Sep-Nov 10 Van Doorn, various PIs
C++ for Biologists (BSc) (**) Nov 5 Van Doorn, Bakker
Modelling in the Life Sciences Research Dec-Jan 10 Hemelrijk, Etienne

(*) Alternatives to this course include
  • Autonome Systemen (KIB.AS03), 5ECTS, semester Ia
  • Wiskunde voor Levenswetenschappen (WLP10B22), 5ECTS, semester IIb
(**) Alternatives to this course include
Last modified:14 February 2020 10.23 a.m.