Constraint-based modelling: introduction and advanced topics

Course coordinators

Ronan Fleming, Brett Oliver

Course credits


Course overview

Constraint-based modeling is a powerful modeling methodology that is being used to model a diverse range of biological phenomena. These include both fundamental and applied questions relevant to biotechnology, microbiology and medicine. Central to constraint-based modeling is the use of genome-scale reconstructions that represent particular cellular functions as a biochemical reaction network. In this course, you will be introduced to:

  • the principles of constraint-based reconstruction and analysis (COBRA)
  • the underlying mathematical foundations of constraint-based modeling
  • methods for integration of omics data with constraint-based models
  • basic and advanced methods for interrogating models and interpreting results
  • open source COBRA software, including the COBRA Toolbox
  • standards for reconstruction and model sharing
  • example applications to biomedicine and biotechnology

The course is structured into both lectures and practical sessions so that theory can be illustrated with biologically motivated computational examples.

Target audience

Constraint-based modeling is a rapidly growing field that is being used in both fundamental and applied research and biotechnology. It sits at the intersection between quantitative modeling, bioinformatics and cellular physiology, and as such, is an example of systems biology at work.

While participants would benefit from some knowledge of either quantitative modeling, bioinformatics or metabolism this is not required. This includes, for example, scientists working in a laboratory and wanting to learn more about building or using genome-scale models, as well as those who have used some basic COBRA methodologies, but want to know how else it can be applied to their research.

Learning outcomes

  • Introduction to COBRA
  • Proficiency with the COBRA Toolbox
  • Familiarity with typical applications of constraint-based modeling in biomedicine and biotechnology

For past editions check the course archive