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Quantitative Cell and Developmental Biology


Instructor: Stefano Di Talia
Summary: It is a common belief that biology is the least quantitative and theoretical of the natural sciences. However, many fundamental discoveries in biology (e.g. membrane excitability, spikes, proofreading) have come from the use of modeling and theoretical ideas. The goal of this module is to show how theoretical and mathematical ideas can contribute to develop deeper insights on biological problems. Focusing on primary literature, we will discuss how recent advancements in imaging technologies are improving our understanding of cell and developmental biology. Ideally by the end of this module, students will be able to distinguish good informative mathematical models from less informative models.


1. Nurse, P and Hayles, J (2011) The Cell in an Era of Systems Biology, Cell, 144 (6), 850-854
2. Oates, AC, Gorfinkiel, N, Gonzalez-Gaitan, M, Heisenberg, CP (2009) Quantitative approaches in developmental Biology, Nature Reviews Genetics, 10, 517-530.