eCourse Modelling of Biological Processes

Course coordinators

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

Goal + Description

The main goal of this course is to introduce concepts and techniques that can be used for the dynamic modelling of biological systems. The approach taken in this course is to first introduce ordinary differential equations (ODEs) as a mathematical representation of a dynamic system. These ODEs can be derived from fundamental principles such as the mass-action principle or decay in biochemical reactions. The course starts with simple ordinary differential equations in one variable only, but these will soon be extended to include more variables that allow state-dependencies to be included in a natural way.

Because in practice the dynamic models can easily become very complex, involving numerous state variables that depend on one-another, the solution of a given set of ordinary differential equations (ODE) will be calculated with the help of Matlab’s ode-solvers. This allows the dynamic system model to be simulated without the need for an extensive treatment of analytical solutions of ODEs in general. Hence, the emphasis in this course is more on deriving the model and discussing its characteristics such as equilibrium values and stability properties, rather than the mathematical treatment of solving (simple) ordinary differential equations.

The obtained skills in the first part of the course will be applied to more advanced systems, including enzymatic biochemical reactions (concentrations of mRNA/proteins). The student will program these models in Matlab and simulate the system on a computer. Assignments must be completed and will be graded by a tutor.

Target Audience

PhD students in Biology, other researchers in academia and, possibly, from the private sector


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