eCourse Elementary Calculus in Systems Biology

Course coordinators

Hans Stigter (WUR), Celia van Gelder (BioSB,

Goal + Description

The main goal of this course is to introduce several basic mathematical techniques that are useful in the modelling of biological systems. Some of these techniques will be used in the course “Modelling of Biological Systems” where ordinary differential equations are introduced for the dynamic modelling of a biological system.

This course introduces the subjects:

  • Exponential and logarithmic functions
  • The derivative of a function and the chain-rule of differentiation
  • The Taylor series expansion as an approximation of a function
  • The integral of a function, rules for integration, definite integrals, partial integration

More specifically, you will learn how to work with powers and logarithms and review the algebraic rules for these type of functions, how to differentiate a given function and what the result means, perform integration and partial integration, learn how to approximate a function using a Taylor series, and more. These subjects will be discussed in an applied setting, if possible.

The emphasis in this course is on explaining the basic techniques and practicing these techniques with the help of exercises. These exercises will be graded by the tutor to see if you have mastered the material sufficiently.

Target Audience

PhD students in Systems Biology who need more quantitative skills, other researchers in academia and, possibly, the private sector, who want to have an introduction to frequently used mathematical techniques.


Registration for this course will be online soon. You can already indicate your interest via the pre-registration form!