636-0009-00L  Evolutionary Dynamics

SemesterAutumn Semester 2018
LecturersN. Beerenwinkel
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


636-0009-00 VEvolutionary Dynamics
The lecture will be held each Thursday in Basel (BSA E 46) and will be transmitted via videoconference to Zürich (HG D 16.2).
Attention: lecture starts September 27
2 hrs
Thu09:15-11:00BSA E 46 »
09:15-11:00HG D 16.2 »
N. Beerenwinkel
636-0009-00 UEvolutionary Dynamics
Attention: Lecture and Tutorial only start Thursday, September 27
1 hrs
Thu11:15-12:00BSA E 46 »
11:15-12:00HG D 16.2 »
N. Beerenwinkel
636-0009-00 AEvolutionary Dynamics
Project Work (compulsory continuous performance assessment), no fixed presence required.
2 hrsN. Beerenwinkel

Catalogue data

AbstractEvolutionary dynamics is concerned with the mathematical principles according to which life has evolved. This course offers an introduction to mathematical modeling of evolution, including deterministic and stochastic models.
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is to understand and to appreciate mathematical models and computational methods that provide insight into the evolutionary process.
ContentEvolution is the one theory that encompasses all of biology. It provides a single, unifying concept to understand the living systems that we observe today. We will introduce several types of mathematical models of evolution to describe gene frequency changes over time in the context of different biological systems, focusing on asexual populations. Viruses and cancer cells provide the most prominent examples of such systems and they are at the same time of great biomedical interest. The course will cover some classical mathematical population genetics and population dynamics, and also introduce several new approaches. This is reflected in a diverse set of mathematical concepts which make their appearance throughout the course, all of which are introduced from scratch. Topics covered include the quasispecies equation, evolution of HIV, evolutionary game theory, birth-death processes, evolutionary stability, evolutionary graph theory, somatic evolution of cancer, stochastic tunneling, cell differentiation, hematopoietic tumor stem cells, genetic progression of cancer and the speed of adaptation, diffusion theory, fitness landscapes, neutral networks, branching processes, evolutionary escape, and epistasis.
Lecture notesNo.
Literature- Evolutionary Dynamics. Martin A. Nowak. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.
- Evolutionary Theory: Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations. Sean H. Rice. Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2004.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic mathematics (linear algebra, calculus, probability)

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits6 credits
ExaminersN. Beerenwinkel
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is only offered in the session after the course unit. Repetition only possible after re-enrolling.
Mode of examinationoral 20 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationRepetition possible only with re-enrollment, including projects.
The final grade is 70% oral session examination and 30% project. The practical projects are compulsory continuous performance assessments (60 hours of work, 2 credits) of the course. The project has to be re-run in case of a repetition.
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


There are no additional restrictions for the registration.

Offered in

Biology MasterElective Compulsory Master Courses II: BiologyWInformation
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics MasterBioinformaticsWInformation
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics MasterCore CoursesWInformation
Mathematics MasterBiologyWInformation