Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


18.03 Differential Equations

Biology (GIR) One of the following courses:


This course focuses on feedback control mechanisms that living organisms implement at the molecular level to execute their functions, with emphasis on techniques to design novel systems with prescribed behaviors. Students will learn how biological functions can be understood and designed using notions from feedback control.


By the end of the course, students will know these things:

  1. How to construct mathematical models of a large range of molecular mechanisms.
  2. How to use these models along with analysis and design tools from controls and dynamical systems to predict and engineer the dynamics of molecular networks.


Del Vecchio, Domitilla, and Richard M. Murray. Biomolecular Feedback Systems. Princeton University Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780691161532. [Preview with Google Books ]

The electronic edition of the textbook is available for free on the book’s website.

Alon, Uri. An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits. Chapman and Hall / CRC Press, 2006. ISBN: 9781584886426. [Preview with Google Books ]

Klipp, Edda, Ralf Herwig, et al. Systems Biology in Practice: Concepts, Implementation and Application. Wiley Blackwell, 2005. ISBN: 9783527310784. [Preview with Google Books ]

Alberts, Bruce, Alexander Johnson, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th ed. Garland Science, 2002. ISBN: 9780849371615.


Percentages 70%
Final Project 30%

Students are allowed one extension on a homework assignment during the semester. The lowest score on a homework assignment will be dropped i.e. will not count toward the final grade.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Problem Sets
menu_book Online Textbook
group_work Projects