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Modelling Biological Systems, 7.5 cr


Course description

This course is well suited for masters students interested in biological modelling, how models work and what they are good for. Nature is complex and often several factors interact also in seemingly simple processes. Models are useful tools to disentangle complicated relationships, to build a comprehensive description of a process, or simply to present your own thoughts in an unambiguous way. Models are also necessary to make predictions about the future, test different scenarios, etc.. In a good model one can manipulate one factor at a time, which is often impossible in nature.

The course is suited for all biology students - we try to include examples from as many fields of biology as possible.

This course can be taken in parallell with BIOS14 Processing and Analysis of Biological Data, as both are given part time.

The students shall after completion of the course be able to:

  • in general terms describe the usage, interpretation and limitations of models
  • solve mathematical tasks in basic algebra and analysis
  • do basic programming in R
  • describe the use of genetic algorithms and artificial neural networks in modelling
  • design a model of a biological system, given a specific task or question
  • fit a model to data
  • use mathematical and numerical methods to analyse simple dynamic, statistic or probabilistic models, such as stability analysis, optimization or risk analysis.


During the course there are a number of compulsory exercises and a written exam

If you can solve those math problems (pdf) you are well prepared for the BIOS13 Modelling Biological Systems course. If not, and you still want to take the course, it is highly recommended to refresh your math before the course starts


Application and Prerequisites in Swedish at Lund University course database (please note, not for exchange students).



Page Manager:

Study coordinator

Lotta Persmark
Study advisor
Education office

Telehone: +46 46-222 37 28
E-mail: Lotta.Persmark [at]

Course coordinator

Jörgen Ripa
Evolutionary ecology

Telephone: +46 46-222 37 70
E-mail: Jorgen.Ripa [at]

Course Literature

Course period

The course is offered during the second period of the autumn semester.

The language of instruction is English.

Resit exam occasions