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The course takes place on Tuesdays, 15:15-17:00, lecture hall: B007, ExWi. (

Reading material

The course builds on the Systems Biology book ​by Uri Alon, which is highly recommended.

Recommended further study material:

online courses covering related topics:

Uri Alon: Systems Biology

Jeff Gore: MIT open courseware

For more advanced studies of dynamical systems read Steven Strogatz' s book and lecture.

The booklet "Optima for animals" by R. McNeill Alexander provides a beautiful introduction to optimality principles in animal development and


- There will be a written exam at the end of the semester on 10th January, 15:00-17:00

Exam location: B007, ExWi.

closed book exam. no additional materials allowed, except 3 pens in 3 colors. (no calculator).

- 5 out of 6 home work assignments must be completed and handed-in on time

Learning goals


Unless hyper urgent, post your questions in the forum rather than sending emails (and check if your question is already answered). That way, other students can learn from you as well, and students may be able to provide an answer. Aaditya and myself will regularly check the forum.

The forum is password protected to prevent bots from spamming us. password is provided in the first lecture.


Assignments are due on Tueday, midnight, two weeks after the respective lecture.

Submit the assignments using the google forms listed below.

You are welcome and even encouraged to solve the assignments in groups of up to 4, but each individual should submit a separate solution file. Please, indicate if you solved the assignments in a group upon submission. 


-Provide your solutions as a single pdf (scan or take a photo if you have hand written solutions)

- if other file formats, convert files to pdf, combine to one file

- name as follows: First_Last_assignmentnumber.pdf, e.g., Benjamin_Towbin_1.pdf

- Proven effort to solve 5 out of 6 assignments correctly is required to pass the course.

- Every second week there is a tutorial for the assignments (instead of a lecture). You do not have to attend these, but they may help you with questions about the assignment. I highly recommend to look at the assignments BEFORE the tutorial.

- Assignments may take you several hours. The best way to learn the material is to use it.

- There are only 7 (out of 14 weeks) of lectures to match the work load caused by the assignments.

Assignments and solution manuals will be provided via a You have gotten a link in an email.

Use these google forms to submit the assignments:












The assignments will make use of Wolfram Mathematica. You are free to use any software / language of your choice, but support will only be provided for Mathematica. No previous knowledge of Mathematica and/or programming is required. You will learn everything during the assignments.

The full version of Mathematica is not free, but student licenses are very cheap (10 CHF/month, I recommend investing this money, but if you want/need to save some cash, Mathematica offers a free online version ( that will do all you need, but is a bit more cumbersome for loading, saving, etc.

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