Curriculum Development

Members of the IQB are actively involved in the development of novel curriculum in quantitative biology, both at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Symbiosis:An Introductory Integrated Mathematics and Biology Curriculum

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) four year Funded Grant, 2006-2010

Grant Number #52005872 and proposed second grant for 2010-2014.

In response to the National Research Council’s BIO2010 report urging the establishment of integration of Biology and Mathematics in undergraduate courses, faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics submitted the SYMBIOSIS grant to the HHMI educational agency and was funded in 2006. We have developed a three semester course (IBMS 1100, 1200, 1300) (6 credits per semester) that integrates 3 semesters of introductory biology for majors, a semester of statistics and a semester of calculus. The courses are team taught by a biology and a mathematic or statistics faculty. The 3 semesters cover basic introduction to biology from a quantitative perspective, using an integrative format. The students receive credit equivalent to BIOL 1100, 1200, 1300; MATH 1530 (Probably and Statistics) and MATH 1910 (Calculus I). A lab is included in the course consisting of both experimental and analytical components.

IBMS- Integrative Biology Math Sciences

IBMS 1100 Integrative Biology and Statistics (6 credits).This course integrates biological concepts from evolution, cellular biology, Mendelian genetics, and molecular genetics with probability and statistics concepts and skills. Five lectures/week and one 2 hour lab/week.

IBMS 1200 Integrative Biology and Calculus (6 credits). This course integrates biological concepts from ecology, behavior, and membrane function with calculus concepts and skills. Five lectures/week and one 2 hour lab/week.

IBMS 1300 Integrative Biology and Discrete Math (6 credits). This course integrates biological concepts from evolution, biochemistry, endocrinology, bioinformatics, and development with differential equations, matrix theory, and graph theory concepts and skills. Five lectures/week and one 2 hour lab/week.

New rubric is required because:

  • These courses are truly integrative, so it would not make sense to place them in either Biology or Math.
  • These courses are UNIQUE; no such course exists elsewhere, so we need to have them denoted by a new rubric to emphasize their uniqueness.
  • This rubric can be used for our proposed integrative Ph.D. program we are developing.

HHMI III (Symbiosis II) Grant

The grant under development will implement the SYMBIOSIS experimental course for a small number of students to be the standard General Biology for Majors for the Biology Department. To do this we will use specific Statistics and Calculus courses as co-requisites for the three sections of biology. Thus IBMS 1110 will have as a co-requisite IBMS 1530 (introductory statistics); IBMS 1120 will have as a co-requisite IBMS 1910 (Calculus I); and IBMS 1130 will still be integrated as a 6 credit course.

The grant will also include faculty development, enhanced upper level course with the addition of quantitative modules; development of a Concentration in Quantitative Biology; Outreach to the academic and surrounding communities; a strong undergraduate research program; Product development and dissemination; and an extensive assessment program to test success for the program.

New Graduate Course in Predictive Modeling:

Predictive Modeling in the Biomedical Sciences.A predictive model is a mathematical model that predicts the outcome of an experiment or observation, often by estimating a probability distribution for the experimental result. The course will be case-based; the first case will be in conjunction with a Biomedical Engineering Course (BME) at Georgia Tech. We will take up to 10 students to Georgia Tech to form collaborations with the GT BME undergraduates. The integration with Georgia Tech will be centered around the question Why are female athletes 6 to 8 times more likely than male athletes to suffer Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries?”   ETSU students will design predictive models which GA Tech BME students will then test experimentally in one of their lab facilities.  The next set of cases will be team taught with Dr. Debra Knisley, who will focus on Reverse Engineering methods in Molecular Biology and their applications to drug design.  Additional cases may include (but are not limited to) cases from systems biology, pharmacology, and epidemiology.