An introduction to mathematical models in biology using Matlab

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General information

MATLAB is a very popular and widely used programming language. The goal of the course is to provide an introduction to basic mathematical modelling in biology using MATLAB. The course will focus on the derivation of a mathematical model from biological principles and using MATLAB as a tool for the model's analysis, including its restrictions and limitations. Applications range from ecology, medicine, marine biology, genetics, behavioural sciences, etc...

A 3h practical session will be held after every lecture; the teacher will demonstrate the techniques and concepts explained during the lecture and the students will apply those concepts through practical examples and exercises.

Programme information: 

Day 1: What is a model? How to build a mathematical model. Phase space analysis and singular points. Adimensionalization. Bifurcation analysis. Cusp catastrophes. Chaos and Lyapunov exponents.

Day 2: Solving Ordinary Differential Equations using MATLAB. Ecological models: exponential growth, logistic growth, the spruce-budworm infestation model, Lotka-Volterra, competitive exclusion principle.

Day 3: Chaos and chaotic dynamics in biology. The discrete logistic. Poincaré maps. Fitzhugh-Nagumo models of signal propagation in neurons and heart cells. A simple fisheries model.

Day 4: Introduction to reaction diffusion equations. Travelling wave dynamics.

Day 5: Reaction diffusion equations in 2D. Lessepsian invasion. Classical theory of Turing morphogenesis.

Contact Person: Francisco José Machín Jiménez ( )


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.


Venue: Institute of Marine Sciences
Barcelona, Spain

The Institute of Marine Sciences is located in Barcelona’s Villa Olimpica District between the Hospital del Mar and the Olympic Towers. 
Institut de Ciències del Mar
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49



Full price of this course is 510€. A reduced registration fee of 425€ is applied for early registrations (20 days before the opening of the course).


Students are required to posses a basic understanding of computer programming and computer algorithms, ordinary and partial diferential equations, basic math and matlab skills and biology (undergraduate level). Each student is required to bring a laptop computer with MATLAB installed and running.

Application Procedure:

Use the ADD TO CARD button on the course's website to book a place and make your payment.


Students attending to at least 80% of the classes will receive a certificate confirming their participation in the course, signed by the Barcelona Ocean responsible person and by the Lecturer of the course.


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
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