University of Washington CSE 599A: Molecular Biology as a Computational Science


("Enzyme Kinetics for Systems Biology", Herbert M. Sauro, 2014)
This is a course in molecular biology for computer science students interested in computational research in the Life Sciences, such as bioinformatics and bioengineering. 

The premise of the course is that cell biology can be described and analyzed in much the same way as complex software systems. Indeed, this is how Systems Biology studies gene programs.

Students will learn:
  • basics of biochemistry including: the structure and behavior of enzymes and chemical pathways and details of DNA replication, transcription, and translation;
  • design patterns for gene programs; 
  • techniques for analyzing gene programs; 
  • elements of genome/transcriptome analysis, including online resources that aid in the study of gene programs and genomes.
There will be 2 homework assignments during the quarter. The assignments are short computational studies. The homework will require students to: (a) design experiments that answer biological questions; (b) build a computational environment to conduct the experiments; (c) perform numerical studies; and (d) report the results.

The course assumes some exposure to object-oriented design, and makes use of python (although deep knowledge of python is not required). The course only requires a high school background in chemistry and biology.