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Syllabus for

Academic year
FFR115 - Computational biology 2
Syllabus adopted 2010-02-25 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPCAS
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Block schedule: A

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0199 Written and oral assignments 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c    

In programs



Professor  Bernhard Mehlig


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Sufficient knowledge of Mathematics (analysis in one real variable, linear algebra), basic programming skills.


The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to computational biology on the molecular and cell-biological level. The students are introduced to key concepts in molecular and cell biology. Methods for storage, search, prediction and analysis of information from molecular-biological experiments are studied. Models of molecular evolution (the so-called coalescent) are described and applied to problems in human evolution, and to the analysis of molecular bacterial data. Physical models of the structure and function of biological macromolecules (for example protein folding and RNA structure) are introduced. Computational Biology on the macroscopic level is the subject of the companion course Computational Biology (FFR 110).

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

define the key vocabulary of molecular and cell biology
understand and explain the mechanisms and driving forces of evolution
explain the significance of the coalescent process as an evolutionary model and as a means of interpreting empirical data
efficiently implement the coalescent process on a computer (with mutations, recombination, selective sweeps)
identify the most significant open problems in interpreting molecular-biological data
understand and explain strengths and weaknesses of accepted structural models for biological macromolecules
write well-structured technical reports in English presenting and explaining analytical calculations and numerical results
communicate results and conclusions in a clear and logical fashion


Biochemistry of macromolecules
A brief survey of molecular biology
A genetic glossary
Random genetic drift and the coalescent process
Physical maps of DNA
The map of the human genome
Physical models for the structure of biological macromolecules

Course home page


Lectures, set homework problems, examples classes.
Web-based course evaluation.


Lecture notes will be made available.

Recommended additional material:
W. J. Ewens, Mathematical population genetics, Springer (1979)
E. S. Lander and M. S. Waterman, eds., Calculating the secrets of life, National Academic Press, Washington (1995). An on-line version of this book is available.
A. Okubo, Diffusion and ecological problems: mathematical models, Springer (1980)
J. D. Murray, Mathematical Biology, Springer (1989)
M. S. Waterman, Introduction to Bioinformatics, Chapman and Hall (1995
M. T. Madigan, J. M. Martinko and J. Parker, Biology of microorganisms, Prentice Hall (2000)

as well as original research papers.


The examination is based on exercises and homework assignments (100%). The examinator must be informed within a week after the course starts if a student would like to receive ECTS grades.

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.