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We describe an ongoing collaborative curriculum materials development project between Sweet Briar College and Western Michigan University, with support from the National Science Foundation. We present a collection of modules under development that can be used in existing mathematics and biology courses, and we address a critical national need to introduce students to mathematical methods beyond the interface of biology with calculus. Based on ongoing research, and designed to use the project-based-learning approach, the modules highlight applications of modern discrete mathematics and algebraic statistics to pressing problems in molecular biology. For the majority of projects, calculus is not a required prerequisite and, due to the modest amount of mathematical background needed for some of the modules, the materials can be used for an early introduction to mathematical modeling. At the same time, most modules are connected with topics in linear and abstract algebra, algebraic geometry, and probability, and they can be used as meaningful applied introductions into the relevant advanced-level mathematics courses. Open-source software is used to facilitate the relevant computations. As a detailed example, we outline a module that focuses on Boolean models of the lac operon network.


Raina Robeva, Robin Davies, Terrell Hodge, Alexander Enyedi. Mathematical biology modules based on modern molecular biology and modern discrete mathematics. CBE life sciences education. 2010;9(3):227-40

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PMID: 20810955

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