BMB539: Applications of mathematics in life sciences

Study Board of Science

Teaching language: Danish
EKA: N200028112, N200028102
Assessment: Second examiner: None, Second examiner: External
Grading: Pass/Fail, 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Spring
Level: Bachelor

STADS ID (UVA): N200028101
ECTS value: 5

Date of Approval: 23-10-2018

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Archive


Discontinued – The last time offered is Spring 2022. The last three examination attempt will be held in June 2022, August 2022 and January 2023.

Entry requirements


Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to:

  • Have knowledge of basic calculus corresponding to the course  Mathematics for BMB, Biomedicine and Chemistry.

Course introduction

The purpose of this course is to introduce mathematical notation and mathematical methods for analysis of problems in lifesciences. Emphasis will be on practical / computing aspects of the mathematical methods introduced in the course. The course will introduce the student to applications of mathematics which the students of BMB and biomedicine will use in later courses of during their studies. The course will combine mathematics with relevant examples from physics, chemistry and biology. 

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in the course Mathematics for BMB, Biomedicine and Chemistry. It gives an academic basis for applying mathematics to describe physical, chemical and biological phenomena.

In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to enable the student to analyze relevant  problems related to  physical, chemical and biological phenomena with a mathematical approach and to perform calculations on typical mathematical  problems related to life sciences.

Expected learning outcome

The learning objective of the course is that the student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Use mathematics to describe and solve typical mathematical problems in life sciences. 
  • Gain an overview and understanding of the basic concepts of the mathematical methods used in life sciences.


The following main topics are contained in the course:
  • Calculations and analysis of mathematical functions relevant to life sciences. 
  • Descriptive  statistics
  • Visual display of data
  • Linear regression
  • Biological applications of derivatives
  • Rates of change 
  • Thermodynamics
  • Applications of integration. 
  • Thermodynamics
  • Poiseuille’s Law: Blood flow
  • Differential equations
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Chemical reactions
  • Linear algebra including vectors, matrices, solution linear systems of equations, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. 
  • Numerical methods (interpolation, numerical integration, minimization), and their applications in life sciences


See itslearning for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

Examination regulations

Exam element a)




Project reports




Second examiner: None




Full name and SDU username


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

To be announced during the course

ECTS value


Exam element b)




Written exam




Second examiner: External


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card


Normally, the same as teaching language


3 hours

Examination aids

All common aids are allowed e.g. books, notes, computer programmes which do not use internet etc. 

Internet is not allowed during the exam. However, you may visit the course site in itslearning to fill in the MCQ test. If you wish to use course materials from itslearning, you must download the materials to your computer the day before the exam. During the exam you cannot be sure that all course materials is accessible in itslearning.    

ECTS value


Indicative number of lessons

52 hours per semester

Teaching Method

The intro phase consists of lectures which provide an introduction to
the course. Students are expected to independently read prescribed text
(the text book) to achieve the expected competencies and necessary
overview. The skills training phase deals with the central parts of the
course using theoretical and computer based exercises. The tutorials are
based on prior independent work or, if wanted, self-organized group
work. The training phase also includes Computer based lab exercises in
which students work together in groups. The study phase is partly
preparation for the intro lectures, tutorials and laboratory exercises
as well as preparation of laboratory reports and exam preparation

  • Work with the material from the book
  • Problem solving
  • Mini project

Teacher responsible

Name E-mail Department
Jonathan R. Brewer Institut for Biokemi og Molekylær Biologi

Additional teachers

Name E-mail Department City
Kristian Debrabant Computational Science
Veit Schwämmle Institut for Biokemi og Molekylær Biologi


Administrative Unit

Biokemi og Molekylær Biologi

Team at Educational Law & Registration


Offered in


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