Mission Statement

The rapid advance of quantitative biology and biotechnology has driven the development of tools to analyze the large amount of new data being generated in these fields. With advanced technologies, more detailed understanding is rapidly emerging, allowing for more predictive mathematical modeling. In parallel, computational technology is developing rapidly both in the advancement of mathematical algorithms to handle large and complex systems that arise in the biological science, and in the hardware capabilities to execute those algorithms within a reasonable time. Because of the rapid development on many research fronts based on modeling, simulation and quantitative methods, there is a great demand for interdisciplinary training at both graduate and undergraduate levels. We believe that by providing foundational courses, like calculus and differential equations in the context of the life sciences, students will see their subject through a different quantitative lens. Such foundation courses and curricula will also lead to a generation of life scientists having powerful quantitative tools at their disposal to support their advanced studies and the research programs.

We have developed a two-semester sequence of courses: Bio-Calculus and Bio-Differential-Equation. In the traditional calculus, a two-semester sequence ends with improper integrals and infinite series. Our sequence will provide a basic introduction of differential equations which is one of the most useful tools in the modeling of biological processes. Although our ultimate goal is showing the students how mathematics can be applied in biological studies, we also want to teach calculus in a way that will build a solid foundation for more advanced studies of mathematics. The course will not be a terminal course. Rather it will encourage and motivate the students to learn mathematics beyond calculus. For this purpose, our first semester course will be equivalent, in terms of all standard topics and exams, to the traditional Calculus-I for mathematics and engineering students, yet will focus on biological applications. Our second semester course will diverge significantly from the traditional Calculus-II but it will contain rigorous mathematical concepts and techniques with ordinary differential equations as the central subject.

 

NSFThis project is supported by the National Science Foundation.