**Modeling Biological Complexity**
In addition to my position as a researcher at Rockefeller, I
am Visiting Professor of Biology at Bard College. Every year,
Bard invites proposals from post-docs and researchers from
Rockefeller to design and teach their 400-level biology
seminar. This year, my proposal was chosen. My seminar is
titled Modeling Biological Complexity.

The goal of this class is to show students how the same mathematics
elucidate diverse biological systems. We cover four broadly
applicable methods for analyzing complex systems: scaling analysis,
random processes, network theory, and information theory. For each of
these topics, I first present the theory, show how it can be applied
to a few biological problems (e.g., why bacteria cannot use fins), and
illustrate it with a demo (e.g., reversible stokes flow in an
annulus). In the following several classes, the students present
different papers I selected about how this model is applied to
qualitatively different biological problems. For example, in the
section on randomness, I present random walks, the normal
distribution, and the Poisson distribution. In the following two
classes, students present papers on how bacteria use biased random
walks to navigate chemical gradients and how random genetic variation
within a population drives natural selection. I have also written
several problem sets that walk students through the analysis of a
biological phenomenon. In the problem set on scaling analysis, the
students show that organisms below a critical size can survive a
terminal velocity fall and they explore how different organisms
exploit this phenomenon.

The course syllabus is available here.