MA 493/BIO 495 (Spring): Mathematical Modeling Techniques for Biological Systems

This course seeks to provide students with a fundamental understanding of how mathematics and statistics are applied to problems in life sciences. Our approach will be through several “case studies” problems which arise in biological applications. For each case study we will discuss why a model is needed and what goals are to be sought. We will examine the mathematical models both analytically and computationally in order to compare their behavior with that exhibited by the modeled phenomena. Such a comparison can be achieved quantitatively through model verification and validation, which are central to the process of model development and evaluation for all complex systems. Verification is concerned with building the model right. It is utilized in the comparison of the mathematical model to its computer implementation. On the other hand, validation is concerned with building the right model. It is utilized to determine that a model is an accurate representation of the real biological system.

The course should serve both to give the student an appreciation of the use of mathematics and statistics to help understand biological systems and also to spark student interest for deeper study of some of the mathematical and statistical topics involved.

Prerequisites: One year of calculus.
Desirable: differential equations, e.g. MA 341 or MA 495 (Fall---Differential Equations).

Want to know more? Contact the instructor, Hien Tran (Department of Mathematics).

Undergraduate Biomathematics at NC State

This course is part of a new undergraduate biomathematics (UBM) initiative at NC State. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the UBM program offers you the chance to carry out cutting-edge research at the interface of mathematics and biology. Eight students a year, four from the mathematical sciences and four from the biological sciences, will receive summer support as part of a year-long research experience. MA 493 (Fall semester) and its sister course MA 493 (Spring semester) are designed to prepare biology students for the research component of the UBM program.