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Cases from research practice


Admission requirements

This course is open to all students that have been admitted to the minor ‘Quantitative Biology’.

Contact information

Course coordinator: Prof. Dr. B. van Duijn


This course is a weekly seminar in which the students are introduced to the research practice of Quantitative Biology. There are guest lectures by invited speakers who have integrated this approach into their research. They will discuss the way in which their research practice benefitted from the integrated Quantitative Biology approach, in particular how it has accelerated their research or broadened the insights gained. Both the mathematical and experimental perspective will be addressed. Students will study selected cases from the literature themselves and present and discuss their findings in plenary sessions in the seminar. At the end of the seminar the students write a short essay in which they briefly describe, evaluate and discuss each of the cases presented by the invited speakers.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
The students gain insight and appreciation for the integrated approach of Quantitative Biology, and its limitations, in general. They will be inspired how a Quantitative Biology approach can be beneficial to their own research interests and approach. By studying and discussing the cases the students increase their biological and mathematical knowledge and communication skills in an interdisciplinary setting.

Final qualifications:
• Obtained overview of cases in which a Quantitative Biology approach has been applied.
• Increased knowledge in biology and dynamic mathematical modeling, by example.
• Increased scientific communication and discussion skills in interdisciplinary setting.
• Basic skills acquired in reading, evaluating, presenting and discussing papers with mixed mathematical-biological content.

Time table

The time table is provisional and provided times are indicative. A detailed final schedule will become available before the start of the minor. It is foreseen that the course runs from week 3 until week 12 of the semester, except for week 5 and 10, when exams are planned for other courses in the minor.

Mode of instruction

Seminar with lecture by invited speaker, presentation(s) by students and discussion. Students need to read selected papers.

Assessment method

a) Overall participation (e.g. questions to invited speakers, attendance) (10%)
b) Participation in group discussions (10%)
c) Short essay over cases presented by invited speakers (30%)
d) Personal presentation of selected paper(s) (50%), which is assessed according to – Understanding of paper(s) (40%) – Critical evaluation of paper(s) (30%) – Presentation of paper(s) for interdisciplinary audience (30%)


Blackboard will be used for communication and provision of course material.


A selection of papers will be provided for reading by participants. Invited speakers may provide additional literature.


Via Usis. Enroll also for the course in Blackboard.
Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Prospective students website for information on the application procedure.