In biology, a model is a representation of the structure and function of a biological system, and may be concerned with any level of biology from molecules to ecosystems. Models allow us to test our understanding of particular systems and, if the models are good, to make predictions. This program will look at approaches to modeling different levels of biological processes, such as Michaelis-Menten analysis of enzyme kinetics, diffusion of carbon dioxide and water into and out of a leaf, population dynamics of plant and animal populations, and global climate models. Although we'll focus on mathematical approaches to modeling functions and processes over time, models of biomechanics and spatial processes (e.g., distribution of trees in a forest) could be considered.
The program will introduce modeling concepts and techniques, and students will have the opportunity to develop their own models. Students are not expected to have advanced-level experience in math or computing, and can expect to develop some basic skills in this program. Calculus experience is not required. A high level of engagement and initiative, and a willingness to think scientifically and quantitatively, is expected in this program. Upper-division credit is possible. Students willing to share their expertise in some area of biology, mathematics, or computing are encouraged to participate.
Course Reference Numbers
Upper division credit is possible by arrangement with the faculty. Students will need to define what will make their work 'upper division', and to communicate with the faculty throughout the quarter to ensure that they are meeting expectations.