BI3BP7-Systems Biology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Whilst not a pre-requisite, it is strongly suggested that you have taken BI2BT5. Students who have not should see the Module Convenor
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Marcus Tindall


Type of module:

Summary module description:

•To provide an introduction to the field of Systems Biology.
•To provide an appreciation of the use of modelling in answering questions about and providing insight in to biological systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:
•Understand the systems approach to biology.
•Understand where modelling of biological systems is useful and can be applied.
•Understand the modelling process and its steps.
•Understand how modelling can inform experimental work and vice-versa.
•Understand where the Systems Biology approach can and cannot be applied.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
• Overview and introduction to the concept of Systems Biology (1 lecture)
• Understanding the usefulness of modelling biological systems (1 lecture)
• The modelling process: Identifying the problem, choosing a modeling method, using experimental data in models, solving the model, using the model to tell you something new (2 lectures).
• Introduction to ordinary differential equations (2 lectures)
• Modelling biochemical reactions (1 lecture)
• The Michaelis-Menten reaction (1 lecture)
• Introduction to population models (2 lectures)
• Data for informing and solving mathematical models (1 lecture)
• Analysing mathematical models (2 lectures)
• Modelling cell signalling pathways (2 lectures)
• Multi-scale modelling and Synthetic Biology (1 lecture)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will involve 16 taught lectures, 3 computer tutorial practicals on Matlab and solving ordinary differential equations and 1 experimental practical in which students will measure the growth of bacterial populations (the data from this will be used to compare with model predictions and determine model parameters).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Tutorials 3
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study 78
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Report 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
A two hour examination in which students must answer 2 out of 4 questions in an essay style format.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

30% for Report and 70% for the final examination.

A report on the combined mathematical modelling and practical work.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


    Things to do now