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Biology Modules

The modules in traditional Biology degree programmes typically reflect how scientists discovered and learnt about biological phenomena. They begin with the organisms as a whole, their anatomy, physiology, and eventually - in later semesters - introduce the molecular basis of biological activities. In contrast, QuantBio takes a bottom up approach. You will first learn about the building blocks of life and the fundamentals of molecular mechanism, followed by the rules underlying genetic variation. You will then learn to understand how cells interact, within an organism in embryonic development, and across organisms in microbial ecology. Once these fundamentals have been studied, you arrive at organismic physiology in the fifth semester. This course structure will help you to develop a mechanistic understanding of biological principles, providing you with a solid intuition on which you can build future discoveries.


Network of Life central concepts of evolution, origin of life semester 1 bio
Molecular Mechanisms of the Cell flow of genetic information in a cell semester 2 bio, chem
Population & Quantitative Genetics genetic variation and diversity semester 3 bio
Microbial Ecology relationships between microorganisms and their environment semester 4 bio
Developmental Biology how complex multicellular organisms arise from a single cell semester 4 bio
Organismic Physiology  physiology of animals and plants semester 5 bio

Biochemistry Modules

Chemistry and biology go hand in hand. The first three semesters teach the chemical principles that govern how biological molecules interact and function, beginning with a characterization of biomolecules, followed by an exploration of how their interactions result in a functioning cell, and then diving into metabolic pathways and how chemical laws control cell bioenergetics. The modules emphasize the quantitative aspects and the use of models to gain deeper understanding. This chemical foundation is central to the understanding not only of microbial cells, but also of the structure and function of tissues, organs, and organisms.

Biomolecules introduction to biochemistry Semester 1 chem
Molecular Mechanism of the Cell course of genetic information in a cell Semester 2 bio; chem
Cell Bioenergetics basic biophysical processes in cell and molecular biology Semester 3 math; chem; bio
Metabolism detailed concepts of biochemistry  Semester 3 chem; bio

Mathematical Modelling, Biophysics, and Data Science Modules

Biological knowledge by itself is not enough to understand the latest research advances in the life sciences. Today, a strong basis in mathematical fundamentals, the physics governing the various biological processes, along with a solid understanding of mathematical modelling and a sound toolkit of data science methods is necessary to make a mark in this field. The corresponding modules of QuantBio teach the mathematical methods with a clear focus on their application to biological phenomena.

Mathematical Fundamentals preparation for the other mathematics-intensive courses Semester 1 math
Deterministic processes in Biology basics of mathematical modelling with differential equation systems Semester 2 math, bio
Principles of Statistics & Stochastics basics of biostatistics Semester 2 math; bio
Cell Bioenergetics basic biophysical processes in cell and molecular biology Semester 3 math; chem; bio
Data Science & Machine Learning  Analyse hochdimensionaler biologischer Daten Semester 4 info; math

Bioinformatics Modules

Much of today's data in biological and medical research is high-throughput, making computers essential for any comprehensive analyses. QuantBio thus also emphasizes the acquisition of skills in bioinformatics. In the first semester, you will learn to write computer programs, preparing you for later modules that introduce important computer algorithms and modern methods of biological data analysis. Computers are also central to data science - the art of analyzing complex data - and machine learning, which is increasingly used to make sense of multi-dimensional data.

Programming basics of programming in the computer language Python Semester 1 info
Algorithmic Bioinformatics algorithmic design principles and their application in bioinformatics Semester 2 info
Applied Bioinformatics omics technologies in modern biology and the analysis of their data Semester 3 info
Data Science & Machine Learning  analysis of high-dimensional biological datasets Semester 4 info, math

Applied Biology Modules

While virtually all modules of the first five semesters are interdisciplinary in their design, there are three modules that focus specifically on the integrative nature of biology, where advances in knowledge are typically built on technological progress.

Cell Structure & Dynamics exploring cell biological structures and processes through use qualitative and quantitative microscopy Semester 3 apl bio
Biotechnology & Synthetic Biology principles, approaches, and applications of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering Semester 4 apl bio
From Data to Knowledge state-of-the-art technologies for the analysis of biological data Semester 5 apl bio


Scientific Competence

Your future success will be built not only on technical competence, but also on general key qualifications, such as time management and communication skills. In this set of moducles, you will dive into the philosophical, creative, and practical basics of scientific work. You will reflect on issues of bioethics and critically discuss mankind’s dealings with nature, in particular concerning medical and biotechnological applications.

Methods of Science philosophical foundations and creativity in science Semester 1 sci comp
Science Ethics & Communication reflection on bioethics and development of communication skills Semester 4 sci comp
Project Planning  time management and the careful design of research projects Semester 6 sci comp


Advanced Modules

In the final semester(s), you can choose from the advanced modules offered by the biology bachelor's programmes at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf ("V-Module", listed here) and the University of Cologne ("Bio-Wahl", listed here). These elective modules allow you to gain deeper insights into specific sub-fields of quantitative biology and serve as an intensive, hands-on introduction to laboratory work. The elective modules encourage you to solve problems independently, to expand your methodological competence, to deepen your knowledge, and to sharpen your teamwork skills as well as oral and written presentation skills. The thematic orientation of the elective-modules is largely based on the research focuses of the research groups at the two universities.

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