Computer Models in Biology
Spring 2019
Section Number: 
Days of the Week: 
4:10pm - 6:00pm
809 Northwest Corner Building
Number of Credits: 
Course Description: 

Prerequisites: Calculus, Cell Biology (or a strong intro class), PChem desirable but not required, or the instructor's permission. Some computer programming desirable, but is neither required nor essential. This course is intended to introduce students in the biological and physical sciences to techniques in computer programming and the modeling of biological systems. We will meet for 3 hours once a week. The first hour and a half of each class will be devoted to discussing the fundamentals of a biological system of interest. In the second half of the class, we will introduce a modeling approach to the problem, and divide into groups to begin writing a computer program to analyze the biological system discussed in the first half of the lecture. The first part of the course (weeks 1-6) will cover the basics of programming in Igor (Wavemetrics). We will then move on to basic statistical methods in Igor, including curve fitting and bootstrapping. Students will be asked to complete programming homework assignments designed to develop their skills early on. The second part of the course (weeks 6-12) will present the class with problems in the scientific literature and the algorithms used to solve them. Examples of problems that we will discuss in class include solving the equations for the action potential, modeling diffusion and chemical reactions. This course will be of interest to advanced undergraduates that aim to pursue careers in medicine and basic science research. This course will also be of interest to graduate students desiring an introduction to computer programming and modeling in biological research.

Business Office

Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Academic Office

Department of Biological Sciences
600 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2402
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
[email protected]
212 854-4581