Interdisciplinary research requires interdisciplinary trained students. This is still not the norm at most universities. Therefore, BioQuant has installed and is offering such interdisciplinary training at different levels of education. This training aims at creating young scientists that either are able to perform quantitative web-lab experimentation, as well as computational modeling and bioinformatics themselves or specialize in any of these fields, but are still able to understand the other side, so that they are enabled to do productive research in interdisciplinary consortia.
Courses / Competitions
On the level of Bachelor students, we offer introductory training in computational modeling and coordinate the bioinformatics education for the Bachelor in Biosciences at Heidelberg University.
Within the „Master of Molecular Bioscience” at the Faculty of Biosciences, we offer a specialized Major Program “Systems Biology” which was established in 2008. Every year, we select up to 12 excellent students who show a motivation for interdisciplinary training and a respective high-quality background. These students are then subject to both wet-lab courses on quantitative experimental approaches, as well as modeling and bioinformatics training. As an example, during one wet-lab course, students generate quantitative data on, e.g. a signalling pathway that is then used for generating a corresponding model in a subsequent computational practical. In total, the program takes two years to complete, four semesters in total. For detailed information about the curriculum and how to apply, see here.
On the PhD level, BioQuant hosts a structured PhD program – COLuMBuS which is certified by the Faculty of Biosciences and allows PhD students access to additional training during their years of doing research for their dissertation.
Within BioQuant, a regular INTERNAL SEMINAR is organised which offers all members of BioQuant the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss methodological problems. In addition, the INSTITUTES SEMINAR which takes place roughly once a month hosts external, international speakers. Students at BioQuant have been participating in several international scientific competitions over the years, particularly DREAM and iGEM. Each of these participations resulted in awards, e.g. the iGEM team in 2013 and 2014 won the Grand Prize. In many other years, iGEM Team Heidelberg often won a gold medal or was nominated for the main prize in several categories (which means that they were among the 3-4 best teams worldwide).
Teaching at BioQuant takes mostly place in the seminar rooms (for lectures and seminars), as well as a computer pool for computational courses, such as bioinformatics. The computer pool is equipped with 40 PCs that are administered centrally from a server, a set-up which allows to quickly install individual OS and software prior to specific courses. A teaching lab for experimental practicals also exists. This lab is however not only used for ordinary lab courses, but is also used by students that e.g. take part in competitions like iGEM.
COLuMBuS PhD Program
The PhD program "Computational Analysis and Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems (COLuMBuS)" at the BioQuant follows the structure and content of the Research Training Group "Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences (MMQB)". PhD students at the Bioquant can choose COLuMBuS as their sole PhD program or become members of COLuMBuS in addition to participating in existing Heidelberg PhD programs (HBIGS, HGS MathComp, DKFZ HIGS etc.). COLuMBuS provides additional training and interactions in computational biology and modeling along the lines of the research program of MMQB, which offers a structured and comprehensive education in quantitative biology at the PhD level. Thus, the focus of COLuMBuS is on applying modeling, analysis and simulation methods to biological systems at different levels of abstraction - gene regulation, signaling pathways, mechanical cell properties and cell populations. It supports training of PhD students in systems and computational biology with respect to deterministic, stochastic, multiscale and spatio-temporal modeling approaches of biological processes and computational analysis of experimental data.
The COLUMBUS PhD program closely collaborates with the Research Training Group "Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences", the Graduate Schools Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS), the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp), the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP) and the Graduate Academy at Heidelberg University.
Prof. Dr. Karsten Rippe
BioQuant & DKFZ
+49 (0)6221 54-51450
karsten.rippe @ bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de
Prof. Dr. Thomas Höfer
+49 (0)6221 42-1980
t.hoefer @ dkfz.d
Prof. Dr. Ursula Kummer
+49 (0)6221 54-51278
ursula.kummer @ bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de
Research Training Group: Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences (MMQB)
Biology is currently undergoing a fundamental transition from a science of qualitative discovery to a quantitative science aimed at understanding and predicting processes on a systems level. Mathematical modeling is a powerful technique to address key questions and paradigms in diverse systems using a precise quantitative approach.
Heidelberg University has made great efforts to promote education and research training in quantitative biology at various levels, including the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology, the major in Systems Biology as part of the Master’s program in Molecular Biosciences and the support of interdisciplinary postdocs and junior group leaders by BioMS. In addition, the Research Training Group (RTG) "Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences" (MMQB) offers a structured and comprehensive education in quantitative biology at the PhD level for the first time at Heidelberg University.
The RTG Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences aims at introducing PhD students to a broad range of mathematical approaches used to study biological systems. The focus of this RTG is on applying modeling, analysis and simulation methods to biological systems at different levels of abstraction - gene regulation, signaling pathways, mechanical cell properties and cell populations. In order to tackle these particular levels of abstraction, different, but widely overlapping methods will be employed, e.g. deterministic and stochastic, multiscale and spatio-temporal modeling approaches.
Through the broad and complementary expertise of its principal investigators, the Research Training Group MMQB will acquaint PhD students with a comprehensive array of methodologies for mathematical modeling of biological processes and computational analysis of experimental data. These include deterministic, stochastic, multiscale and spatio-temporal modeling approaches.
PhD students will work directly at the interface between mathematics, physics and biosciences by gaining first-hand experience in collaborating with the other experimental research groups. Each individual PhD project will be supervised by a principal investigator in close collaboration with their experimental partners. Mathematical and computational models will be developed and validated iteratively, based on data obtained by collaborating experimentalists. Providing insights into the complex dynamics, the models will be used to evaluate the data and to design new experiments.
The Research Training Group "Mathematical Modeling for the Quantitative Biosciences" closely collaborates with the Graduate Schools Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS), the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp), the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP) and the Graduate Academy at Heidelberg University.
Regulation of cell-to-cell variability in prokaryotes - BioQuant_Bischofs0116 [position filled] | Dr. Ilka Bischofs-Pfeifer (BioQuant & ZMBH)
Mathematical modeling of the two-faced role of immune cells at the crossroad of skin cancer and wound healing - BioQuant_Grabe0116 | apl. Prof. Dr. Niels Grabe (BioQuant & NCT)
Regulation of gene expression: a non-equilibrium process - "Inference and mathematical modeling of gene-regulatory networks in hematopoietic stem cells" - BioQuant_Hoefer0116 [position filled] | Prof. Dr. Thomas Höfer (DKFZ & BioQuant)
Understanding organ size control: Computational modeling of Hippo signaling and its cross-talk with other signaling pathways - BioQuant_Kummer0116 [position filled] | Prof. Dr. Ursula Kummer (COS & BioQuant)
Mathematical models of neurogenesis - BioQuant_Marciniak-Czochra0116 [position filled] | Prof. Dr. Anna Marciniak-Czochra (BioQuant & Institute for Applied Mathematics)
Modeling the role of the cytoskeleton during virus infections - BioQuant_Schwarz0116 [position filled] | Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwarz (BioQuant & Institute for Theoretical Physics)
Prof. Dr. Anna Marciniak-Czochra
BioQuant & IWR
+49 (0)6221 54-14140
anna.marciniak @ iwr.uni-heidelberg.de