Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2018

Biology Master Information
Elective Major Subject Areas
Elective Major: Systems Biology
Elective Compulsory Master Courses II: Biology
551-1103-00LMicrobial BiochemistryW4 credits2VJ. Vorholt-Zambelli, J. Piel
AbstractThe lecture course aims at providing an advanced understanding of the physiology and metabolism of microorganisms. Emphasis is on processes that are specific to bacteria and archaea and that contribute to the widespread occurrence of prokaryotes. Applied aspects of microbial biochemistry will be pointed out as well as research fields of current scientific interest.
ObjectiveThe lecture course aims at providing an advanced understanding of the physiology and metabolism of microorganisms.
ContentImportant biochemical processes specific to bacteria and archaea will be presented that contribute to the widespread occurrence of prokaryotes. Applied aspects of microbial biochemistry will be pointed out as well as research fields of current scientific interest. Emphasis is on concepts of energy generation and assimilation.

List of topics:
Eating sugars and letting them in
Challenging: Aromatics, xenobiotics, and oil
Complex: (Ligno-)Cellulose and in demand for bioenergy
Living on a diet and the anaplerotic provocation
Of climate relevance: The microbial C1 cycle
What are AMO and Anammox?
20 amino acids: the making of
Extending the genetic code
The 21st and 22nd amino acid
Some exotic biochemistry: nucleotides, cofactors
Ancient biochemistry? Iron-sulfur clusters, polymers
Secondary metabolites: playground of evolution
Lecture notesA script will be provided during the course.
551-1153-00LSystems Biology of Metabolism
Number of participants limited to 15.
W4 credits2VU. Sauer, N. Zamboni, M. Zampieri
AbstractStarting from contemporary biological problems related to metabolism, the course focuses on systems biological approaches to address them. In a problem-oriented, this-is-how-it-is-done manner, we thereby teach modern methods and concepts.
ObjectiveDevelop a deeper understanding of how relevant biological problems can be solved, thereby providing advanced insights to key experimental and computational methods in systems biology.
ContentThe course will be given as a mixture of lectures, studies of original research and guided discussions that focus on current research topics. For each particular problem studied, we will work out how the various methods work and what their capabilities/limits are. The problem areas range from microbial metabolism to cancer cell metabolism and from metabolic networks to regulation networks in populations and single cells. Key methods to be covered are various modeling approaches, metabolic flux analyses, metabolomics and other omics.
Lecture notesScript and original publications will be supplied during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course extends many of the generally introduced concepts and methods of the Concept Course in Systems Biology. It requires a good knowledge of biochemistry and basics of mathematics and chemistry.
636-0507-00LSynthetic Biology II Restricted registration - show details
Students in the MSc Programme Biotechnology (Programme Regulation 2017) may select Synthetic Biology II instead of the Research Project 1.
W8 credits4AS. Panke, Y. Benenson, J. Stelling
Abstract7 months biological design project, during which the students are required to give presentations on advanced topics in synthetic biology (specifically genetic circuit design) and then select their own biological system to design. The system is subsequently modeled, analyzed, and experimentally implemented. Results are presented at an international student competition at the MIT (Cambridge).
ObjectiveThe students are supposed to acquire a deep understanding of the process of biological design including model representation of a biological system, its thorough analysis, and the subsequent experimental implementation of the system and the related problems.
ContentPresentations on advanced synthetic biology topics (eg genetic circuit design, adaptation of systems dynamics, analytical concepts, large scale de novo DNA synthesis), project selection, modeling of selected biological system, design space exploration, sensitivity analysis, conversion into DNA sequence, (DNA synthesis external,) implementation and analysis of design, summary of results in form of scientific presentation and poster, presentation of results at the iGEM international student competition (
Lecture notesHandouts during course
Prerequisites / NoticeThe final presentation of the project is typically at the MIT (Cambridge, US). Other competing schools include regularly Imperial College, Cambridge University, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, Princeton Universtiy, CalTech, etc.

This project takes place between end of Spring Semester and beginning of Autumn Semester. Registration in April.

Please note that the number of ECTS credits and the actual work load are disconnected.
551-0571-00LFrom DNA to Diversity (University of Zurich)
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: BIO336

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
W2 credits2VA. Hajnal, D. Bopp
AbstractThe evolution of the various body-plans is investigated by means of comparison of developmentally essential control genes of molecularly analysed model organisms.
ObjectiveBy the end of this module, each student should be able to
- recognize the universal principles underlying the development of
different animal body plans.
- explain how the genes encoding the molecular toolkit have evolved
to create animal diversity.
- relate changes in gene structure or function to evolutionary
changes in animal development.
Key skills:
By the end of this module, each student should be able to
- present and discuss a relevant evolutionary topic in an oral
- select and integrate key concepts in animal evolution from
primary literature
- participate in discussions on topics presented by others
636-0009-00LEvolutionary DynamicsW6 credits2V + 1U + 2AN. Beerenwinkel
AbstractEvolutionary dynamics is concerned with the mathematical principles according to which life has evolved. This course offers an introduction to mathematical modeling of evolution, including deterministic and stochastic models.
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is to understand and to appreciate mathematical models and computational methods that provide insight into the evolutionary process.
ContentEvolution is the one theory that encompasses all of biology. It provides a single, unifying concept to understand the living systems that we observe today. We will introduce several types of mathematical models of evolution to describe gene frequency changes over time in the context of different biological systems, focusing on asexual populations. Viruses and cancer cells provide the most prominent examples of such systems and they are at the same time of great biomedical interest. The course will cover some classical mathematical population genetics and population dynamics, and also introduce several new approaches. This is reflected in a diverse set of mathematical concepts which make their appearance throughout the course, all of which are introduced from scratch. Topics covered include the quasispecies equation, evolution of HIV, evolutionary game theory, birth-death processes, evolutionary stability, evolutionary graph theory, somatic evolution of cancer, stochastic tunneling, cell differentiation, hematopoietic tumor stem cells, genetic progression of cancer and the speed of adaptation, diffusion theory, fitness landscapes, neutral networks, branching processes, evolutionary escape, and epistasis.
Lecture notesNo.
Literature- Evolutionary Dynamics. Martin A. Nowak. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.
- Evolutionary Theory: Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations. Sean H. Rice. Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2004.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic mathematics (linear algebra, calculus, probability)
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