Quantitative and Reasoning Skills for the Life Sciences

Quantitative and Reasoning Skills
for the Life Sciences
Paul Vaz
Dept of Mathematics & Statistics
PSA 443
[email protected]
12:15 - 1:30 Tuesday & Thursday
LSE 244
Michael S. Rosenberg
School of Life Sciences
LSA 260
[email protected]
This course, created by the School of Life Sciences and the Department of
Mathematics & Statistics for its first-year undergraduate students, is designed to introduce
students to some of the basic models and methods of mathematical biology that are not usually
seen in standard mathematics courses. This course is designed to provide students with a range
of quantitative and reasoning skills for more advanced study in the life sciences. These skills
will be developed through the study of several biological examples presented as a series of 5
modules. Each module will consist of 4-5 lectures integrated with lab sessions. The lecture
sessions will introduce the biological problem and associated quantitative techniques. The lab
sessions will introduce students to a range of software products available to assist in the
application of quantitative techniques to biological problems such as Maple, Matlab,
Mathematica, etc… and provide students with an opportunity to develop their quantitative and
reasoning skills on actual biological applications ranging from genetics to ecosystem ecology.
At the end of each module we will present the results of simple, classic experiment showing how
the mathematics actually works to solve real problems in nature. Topics include:
1. Summarizing data
2. Probability and random variables / Mendelian genetics and mating
3. Graph theory / optimal foraging / patch selection
4. Solo and interacting population dynamics
Prerequisites: BIO 188 and MAT 117
Reference Text(s) for Course (Recommended):
Elementary Statistics by Neil Weiss, 5th /6th edition
Discrete Mathematics and its application by Rosen, 5th edition
Differential Equations by Edwards and Penny, 3rd edition
Additional Information:
Capacity: 24
Course Enrollment: Preference given to MARC and pre-MARC undergraduate students
Meets the General Studies MA requirement