MAGIC091: Mathematical Biology

Course details

A core MAGIC course


Spring 2018
Monday, January 22nd to Friday, March 16th; Monday, April 23rd to Friday, May 4th


Live lecture hours
Recorded lecture hours
Total advised study hours


13:05 - 13:55
13:05 - 13:55


Mathematics can be usefully applied to a wide range of applications in biology and medicine. Without assuming any prior biological knowledge, this module describes how mathematics can help us understand topics such as population dynamics, biochemical reaction kinetics, neuroscience and cancer. There is considerable emphasis on model building and development, use of ordinary and partial differential equations, and use of tools from dynamical systems.
In addition, some lectures will be used to inform students about the activities of the five EPSRC Centres for Mathematics in Healthcare, thereby exposing them to a range of cutting-edge applications and approaches.


Some familiarity with systems of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), steady states and stability, phase plane analysis for systems of two ODEs.


The syllabus will be broken down into blocks as follows (details to be confirmed):
1. Mon 22 Jan: Intro, population growth
2. Wed 25 Jan: Population growth
3. Mon 29 Jan: Population growth
4. Wed 31 Jan: Biochemical kinetics
5. Mon 5 Feb: Biochemical kinetics
6. Wed 7 Feb: Biochemical kinetics
7. Mon 12 Feb: models for ion-channel dynamics
8. Wed 14 Feb: models for ion-channel dynamics
9. Mon 19 Feb: models for ion-channel dynamics
10. Wed 21 Feb: Neuron models, Hodgkin-Huxley
11. Mon 26 Feb: Neuron models, Hodgkin-Huxley
12. Wed 28 Feb: Neuron models, Hodgkin-Huxley
13. Mon 5 March: Cancer and tissue growth
14. Wed 7 March: Cancer and tissue growth
15. Mon 12 March: Cancer and tissue growth
16. Wed 14 March: no lecture
       Easter break
17. Mon 23 April: Pete Ashwin: EPSRC Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare, University of Exeter.
18. Wed 25 April: no lecture
19. Mon 30 April: Carola Schoenlieb: EPSRC Centre for Mathematical and Statistical Analysis of Multimodal Clinical Imaging, University of Cambridge.
20. Wed 2 May: no lecture


  • MO

    Professor Markus Owen

    University of Nottingham
    Main contact
  • SC

    Professor Stephen Coombes

    University of Nottingham
  • RO

    Dr Reuben O'Dea

    University of Nottingham
  • RT

    Dr Ruediger Thul

    University of Nottingham
  • JW

    Dr Jonathan Wattis

    University of Nottingham


Follow the link for a book to take you to the relevant Google Book Search page

You may be able to preview the book there and see links to places where you can buy the book. There is also link marked 'Find this book in a library' - this sometimes works well, but not always - you will need to enter your location, but it will be saved after you do that for the first time.


The assessment for this course will be released on Monday 7th May 2018 and is due in by Sunday 20th May 2018 at 23:59.

Assessment will be by a take-home exam paper in May 2018. You will have 2 weeks to complete the exam and submit your solutions online. There will be 5 questions, and full marks (out of 100) can be obtained if you submit correct solutions to 4 of them.

Please note that you are not registered for assessment on this course.


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