Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Biological Dynamics (BioDyn)

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Time
Block 2
Programme level Full Degree Master
ECTS 7,5 ECTS
Course responsibles
  • Namiko Mitarai (7-706c776475646c4371656c316e7831676e)
  • Sine Lo Svenningsen (3-766f7643656c72316e7831676e)
  • Department of Biology
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course number: NBIK14012U

Course content

Topics include the physics and biology of:

  • Gene regulatory mechanisms
  • Signal transduction
  • Mutational analysis
  • Bi-stability and noise in genetic networks
  • Modeling of biological networks.
    Throughout the course we focus on relatively simple, well-studied biological examples, often from microorganisms, because these systems are most suitable for quantitative studies and modeling.

Learning outcome

The goal of the course is to introduce the basic knowledge and skills of biology, physics, and mathematics required for a modern, integrated understanding of dynamical biological systems. As the field of molecular biology is advancing from the description of isolated molecular mechanisms to a quantitative understanding also of their interactions and regulations at the systems-level, the need for mathematical literacy in biology has never been greater. This course is intended for students of diverse educational backgrounds within the natural sciences, who wish to gain competency in applying quantitative theory and logic to address questions in molecular biology. The course is co-taught by a biologist and a physicist, and aims to facilitate interdisciplinaty communication between students from different fields.

Knowledge:

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the power of mutational analysis.
  • Describe the basic processes in gene expression, and the components, speed and error rates of macromolecules involved in gene expression.
  • Describe and explain molecularly different gene regulatory mechanisms.
  • Describe the functioning of feedback loops in biological systems, including gene regulatory networks and signal transduction pathways.
  • Describe the dynamics of signal transduction.
  • Describe mechanisms that provide specificity, sensitivity, amplification and adaptation in a signal transduction pathway.


Skills:

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate scientific articles that use quantitative reasoning to investigate biological phenomena.
  • Understand the processes of gene expression as stochastic processes and explain the role of noise in gene expression.
  • Explain the difference between genetic screens and selections and how to apply them to solve biological problems.
  • Plan simple genetic experiments to address a particular biological question.
  • Describe gene regulatory mechanisms with ordinary differential equations.
  • Analyze positive and negative feedback loops using ordinary differential equations.
  • Analyze bistability and oscillation seen in biological systems.


Competences:

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Effectively discuss scientific problems and ideas with peers from disciplines other than their own.
  • Collaborate with colleagues from different fields to solve interdisciplinary problems.
  • Identify suitable collaborators from different disciplines to address particular aspects of an interdisciplinary problem.

Recommended prerequisites

The course is open to graduate students and 3rd year bachelor students from biology, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, physics, molecular biomedicine and nanotechnology who are interested in quantitative analyses of biological phenomena. There are no specific course prerequisites.

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Education

BSc Programme in Biology

MSc Programme in Biology

MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine

MSc Programme in Physics

Studyboard

Study Board of Biology and Animal Science

Course type

Single subject courses (day)

Duration

1 block

Schedulegroup

C
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Teaching and learning methods

Each week, we read a scientific article that has made a significant contribution to basic biology through the use of quantitative reasoning and theory. An introduction to each paper is provided in the form of a lecture on the biological and mathematical concepts used. The students then read the article at home, and we discuss it in the classroom. In addition, a weekly exercise session provides an opportunity for the students to use the tools they learned to solve simple problems in a group setting. At the conclusion of the course, a group of students with different backgrounds help each other understand an assigned interdisciplinary article, and presents it to the class.

Capacity

60

Language

English

Literature

See Absalon.

Workload

Category Hours
Exam 1
Preparation 139
Lectures 24
Project work 3
Theory exercises 39
English 206

Exam

Type of assessment

Oral examination, 25 minutes
25-minute oral exam without preparation time

Aid

Without aids

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

Grade 12 is given for the independent and convincing achievement documenting deep knowledge and insight in both biological systems and physical/mathematical analysis on all aspects of the course goals.

Censorship form

No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Re-exam

As ordinary exam.

To be qualified for the re-exam, the mandatory group presentation must first be approved by the lecturers. The student who did not pass the group presentation must qualify him-/herself to the re-exam. The student must hence contact the lecturers before registering for the re-exam, in order to perform the presentation. In such cases, the lecturers will choose an article for the student to present before the re-exam. The presentation must be approved before the student can take the re-exam.

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