Undergraduate Education

The Quantitative Biology Institute will play a major role in reshaping programs of study for undergraduate students in both the biological and the mathematical sciences. Some revision along these lines is already underway in the biology departments, with the introduction of three recent courses (spearheaded by Thierry Emonet). These start from introductory dynamical systems and MATLAB programming and proceed to more advanced lecture and seminar courses on applications of dynamical systems theory to cell biology, developmental biology and neurobiology. The courses form the basis for a Quantitative Biology Track in MCDB and a Computational Biology Concentration in MBB. Faculty from MCDB, MB&B and Bioengineering teach these courses, which serve a diverse student body from different majors including computer science, engineering, applied mathematics, MB&B, MCDB, chemistry and physics.
Sometimes the quantitative biology courses are taken together with introductory courses from Computer Science (on more basic programming techniques), Mathematics (linear algebra) and Statistics and Data Sciences (on basic probability and statistics). However, these programs are not fully integrated, and the next generation of biomedical researchers needs to be equipped with an enlarged toolbox of quantitative techniques such as machine learning and AI. A complementary goal is to provide a path for mathematics/applied mathematics/computer science undergraduates to be integrated into biology. Achieving these goals will require a high degree of communication and coordination between the biology departments and the mathematical, physics and engineering departments; the QBio can facilitate this process because its faculty will have primary appointments in several different departments.