Orientation on mathematical modelling in biology

Organised by Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)

Mon 8 February 2016 until Fri 12 February 2016

Aim of the course

After completing the course students should be able to build, programme, analyse, and simulate simple deterministic models. Moreover, they should know of and understand the application of more complex dynamic models in biology.


Many biological phenomena can be seen as dynamical systems: one or more variables that change in time. Our research is often aimed at quantifying the parameters that determine the dynamics and to unravel the underlying mechanisms.  To understand the  dynamics, the inverse is also important:  to calculate the variables when parameters are given and to see what types of dynamics are possible.



Introduction to modelling (The knowledge cycle: modelling-measuring-modelling, type of models, type of analysis) - Getting acquainted with the work of the participants.

Teachers: Johan van Leeuwen & Mart de Jong

Introduction to software to be used in this course (Symbolic algebra, numerical integration, simulation, software tools)

Computer practical: practice writing and analysing simple models

Teachers: Lia Hemerik & others


Introduction to single and coupled ordinary differential equations applied to biological problems.

Computer practical

Teachters: Lia Hemerik & others


Evolutionary game theory: theory and practice, e.g. prisoners dilemma, and hawk-dove interactions

Teachers: Lia Hemerik & others

Adaptive dynamics, theory and practice.

Teacher: Odo Diekmann (Utrecht) (to be confirmed)


Immunological models: theory and practice

Teachers: Mart de Jong & others

Modelling of muscles, theory and practice

Teacher: Johan van Leeuwen


Simple stochastic models of epidemics: analysis and Monte Carlo simulation

Teachers: Mart de Jong & Johan van Leeuwen

Model validation, sensitivity analysis and complex models: an overview

Evaluation of the course (feed back by the participants)

Teachers: Mart de Jong, Lia Hemerik & Johan van Leeuwen