MCB 315: Key Concepts in Quantitative Biology

4 units, Fall
TR 9:30-10:45; F 11:00-11:50
Koffler 209 / 203

Biology and medicine are being revolutionized by quantitative methods from mathematics, engineering, physics, and computer science. To engage UA students in quantitative biology, MCB 315 focuses on developing mathematical and computational models in molecular and evolutionary biology and comparing those models with systems biology and genomic data.
Biological topics covered include:cluster

  • Cellular growth control and cancer
  • HIV infection, treatment, and evolution
  • Proofreading of DNA replication
  • Molecular evolution and the tree of life
  • Human population genomics

Quantitative topics covered include:

  • Introduction to Matlab
  • Mutation and other random processes
  • Tapping into biological databases
  • Simulation of cellular networks
  • Cluster analysis of microarrays and gene sequences

The course final project involves curation of authentic research BioModels.

To see the full schedule for a recent year, click here.

MCB 315 is intended both for students in the life sciences interested in quantitative methods and for students outside the life sciences curious about biology. To promote interaction between students from different disciplines, class sessions focus not on lecturing but rather on group exercises involving both pencil-and-paper and computer problem solving.

No prior knowledge of biology is assumed. For students without a biology background, we will be using The Processes of Life, which was written by a computational biologist to emphasize key concepts, without drowning the student in details.

The mathematical prerequisite for the course is Calculus I. We assume you are familiar with the concepts of calculus, but have forgotten how to take derivatives and integrals. Throughout the course, we will build on this foundation, with a focus on describing random processes within cells and populations.

Questions? Contact Ryan Gutenkunst.