MA 490: The Mathematics of Biological Systems

This course requires no previous knowledge of biology. We will examine mathematical models of biological phenomena on many different space and time scales.

On one extreme, we will model rapid cell processes on the genetic and molecular level. On the other, we'll use models to understand how diseases slowly spread between populations around the world. Between these two extremes we'll examine models of neuronal activity, relationships between organisms in a community, the mechanics of the human circulatory and immune systems, intercellular communication, the formation of zebra stripes, and other phenomena.

To study these systems, we'll use the mathematical tools from your calculus and differential equations courses. We'll also learn some new mathematics, with introductions to subjects such as partial differential equations, discrete dynamical systems, and probability.