Biomathematical Sciences Program

The goal of this program is to create educational structures that help Five College students become scientifically multilingual in fields of life and quantitative sciences by providing the means for each student to trace their own intentional pathway across the disciplines.

The daunting complexities of biological phenomena from neurological development to ecosystem carbon fluxes require development of new modeling and analytic approaches. Sorting through potential mechanisms and patterns to develop testable hypotheses requires collaboration between life science investigators and mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists.

Cutting edge life science research increasingly involves such collaborations, but researchers are too often stymied by the different languages of their disciplines. The goal of this program is to create educational structures that help Five College students become scientifically multilingual in fields of life and quantitative sciences by providing the means for each student to trace their own intentional pathway across the disciplines.

The Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences is currently available to students at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, and courses in the program are available to all students enrolled at one of the five campuses through the Five College Course Interchange.

Nicole DelRosso working in a lab

Engaged Alumni

Learn how Hampshire College alum Nicole DelRosso engaged with Biomathematical Sciences while a student at the Five Colleges!

dorothy wrinch in the smith mobile

Dorothy Wrinch: The First Biomathematician in the Valley

The Four College Biomathematics Program, begun in 2011, allows the colleges of the Pioneer Valley to work together across many scientific disciplines. This, however, is not the first biomathematics collaboration in the college consortium. The first experiment with intercollege cooperation in any field began 70 years earlier, with the appointment of Dorothy Wrinch in 1941 to teach courses on molecular biology at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges. In her words, the effort was “the first of its kind to be given in any center of higher education.”

Certificate Requirements

The Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences is currently available to students enrolled at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges.

A minimum of six courses and a research experience are required. In addition to an introductory and capstone biomathematical sciences courses, students are expected to take courses complementing their major. Students with majors in the quantitative sciences (mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, and physics) are expected to take courses in the life sciences (biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, chemistry, etc.) and students with majors in the life sciences are expected to take courses in the quantitative sciences for the certificate. A biomathematical science research experience is also an essential component of the certificate, to provide an experience outside the classroom.

In summary, to qualify for the Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences, students must complete the following:

  • One gateway course: an entry level biomath course to introduce current research questions and foundational skills
  • 4 courses in the life sciences if you are majoring in a quantitative science, or 4 courses in the quantitative sciences if you are majoring in a life science
  • A capstone course in biomathematical or biostatistical methods or an honors thesis in a biomathematical sciences topic
  • A research experience of one summer (or equivalent) with a team of life and mathematical science mentors

The gateway course should contain some basic programming skills and examples in biology. Courses that students have used include Frontiers in Biomathematics (Smith, IDP 170), Modeling in the Sciences (Smith, MTH 205), and Mathematical Modeling (Amherst, Math 140). At least 2 of the 4 courses that complement the major should be upper level courses. Hybrid courses, e.g., computational biology, bioinformatics, biostatistics, can count toward either life sciences or quantitative sciences. To explore the certificate program, please contact your campus certificate advisor or the current program director.

Courses

Fall 2021 Courses

01
4.00

Martha Hoopes

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115496

Clapp Laboratory 016

mhoopes@mtholyoke.edu
This ecology course will cover the fundamental factors controlling the distribution and abundance of organisms, including interactions with the abiotic environment, fitness and natural selection, population growth and dynamics, species interactions, community dynamics, and diversity. We will address variation across space and time. The course will combine observational, experimental, and mathematical approaches to some of the applications of ecological theory, including conservation, disease dynamics, and biological control.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
0.00

Martha Hoopes,Molly McCutcheon

M 01:30PM-04:20PM

Mount Holyoke College
115497

Clapp Laboratory 008

mhoopes@mtholyoke.edummccutcheon@mtholyoke.edu

02
0.00

Molly McCutcheon,Martha Hoopes

T 01:30PM-04:20PM

Mount Holyoke College
115498

Clapp Laboratory 008

mmccutcheon@mtholyoke.edumhoopes@mtholyoke.edu

03
0.00

Martha Hoopes,Molly McCutcheon

W 01:30PM-04:20PM

Mount Holyoke College
115499

Clapp Laboratory 008

mhoopes@mtholyoke.edummccutcheon@mtholyoke.edu

04
0.00

Molly McCutcheon,Martha Hoopes

TH 01:30PM-04:20PM

Mount Holyoke College
115500

Clapp Laboratory 008

mmccutcheon@mtholyoke.edumhoopes@mtholyoke.edu

01
4.00

Tori Day

MWF 03:15PM-04:30PM

Mount Holyoke College
115202

Clapp Laboratory 402

day22v@mtholyoke.edu
Topics include differential and integral calculus of functions of several variables.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Tori Day

MWF 10:00AM-11:15AM

Mount Holyoke College
115204

Clapp Laboratory 402

day22v@mtholyoke.edu
Topics include differential and integral calculus of functions of several variables.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Chassidy Bozeman

MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
115209

Dwight Hall 202

cbozeman@mtholyoke.edu
Topics include elements of the theory of matrices and vector spaces.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Margaret Robinson

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115210

Clapp Laboratory 402

robinson@mtholyoke.edu
Topics include elements of the theory of matrices and vector spaces.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel

TTH 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115632

Clapp Laboratory 402

ahoyerle@mtholyoke.edu
This course is an introduction to computation and computing from a mathematical perspective, covering topics such as numerical algorithms for differentiation, integration, root finding, curve fitting, and error analysis. These tools are very powerful when one finds a mathematical or an applied problem that cannot be solved using the types of analytical functions one learns in calculus. This course is for students with little or no programming knowledge and an interest in learning skills for mathematical computations. The course will cover the basics of programming: types of variables, lists, arrays, for and while loops, if statements, file handling, plotting, pseudo-code and documentation.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel

MWF 08:30AM-09:45AM

Mount Holyoke College
115215

Clapp Laboratory 402

ahoyerle@mtholyoke.edu
This is an introduction to differential equations for students in the mathematical or other sciences. Topics include first-order equations, second-order linear equations, and qualitative study of dynamical systems
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Lidia Mrad

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115621

Art 221

lmrad@mtholyoke.edu
Partial differential equations (PDEs) are often used to describe natural phenomena arising in a wide variety of contexts including physics, biology, and economics. Our focus will be on basic yet representative linear partial differential equations such as the heat and wave equations. We will explore the motivation behind each model we study and emphasize methods of finding solutions and analyzing their behavior. Techniques will include transform methods, separation of variables, energy methods, and numerical computations.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Samantha Kirk

TTH 10:00AM-11:15AM

Mount Holyoke College
115216

Clapp Laboratory 401

skirk@mtholyoke.edu
This course develops the ideas of probability simultaneously from experimental and theoretical perspectives. The laboratory provides a range of experiences that enhance and sharpen the theoretical approach and, moreover, allows us to observe regularities in complex phenomena and to conjecture theorems. Topics include: introductory experiments; axiomatic probability; random variables, expectation, and variance; discrete distributions; continuous distributions; stochastic processes; functions of random variables; estimation and hypothesis testing.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Amy Nussbaum

MWF 08:30AM-09:45AM

Mount Holyoke College
115329

Clapp Laboratory 407

anussbau@mtholyoke.edu
This course provides an overview of statistical methods, their conceptual underpinnings, and their use in various settings taken from current news, as well as from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Topics will include exploring distributions and relationships, planning for data production, sampling distributions, basic ideas of inference (confidence intervals and hypothesis tests), inference for distributions, and inference for relationships, including chi-square methods for two-way tables and regression.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Dylan Shepardson

MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
115330

Clapp Laboratory 407

dshepard@mtholyoke.edu
This course provides an overview of statistical methods, their conceptual underpinnings, and their use in various settings taken from current news, as well as from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Topics will include exploring distributions and relationships, planning for data production, sampling distributions, basic ideas of inference (confidence intervals and hypothesis tests), inference for distributions, and inference for relationships, including chi-square methods for two-way tables and regression.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

03
4.00

Pramesh Subedi

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115335

Clapp Laboratory 407

psubedi@mtholyoke.edu
This course provides an overview of statistical methods, their conceptual underpinnings, and their use in various settings taken from current news, as well as from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Topics will include exploring distributions and relationships, planning for data production, sampling distributions, basic ideas of inference (confidence intervals and hypothesis tests), inference for distributions, and inference for relationships, including chi-square methods for two-way tables and regression.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

04
4.00

Pramesh Subedi

MWF 03:15PM-04:30PM

Mount Holyoke College
115848

Kendade 305

psubedi@mtholyoke.edu
This course provides an overview of statistical methods, their conceptual underpinnings, and their use in various settings taken from current news, as well as from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Topics will include exploring distributions and relationships, planning for data production, sampling distributions, basic ideas of inference (confidence intervals and hypothesis tests), inference for distributions, and inference for relationships, including chi-square methods for two-way tables and regression.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Amy Nussbaum

TTH 10:00AM-11:15AM

Mount Holyoke College
115338

Clapp Laboratory 407

anussbau@mtholyoke.edu
In this course, students will learn how to analyze data arising from a broad array of observational and experimental studies. Topics covered will include exploratory graphics, description techniques, the fitting and assessment of statistical models, hypothesis testing, and communication of results. Specific topics may include multiple regression, ANOVA, and non-linear regression. Statistical software will be used.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Amy Nussbaum

TTH 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115339

Clapp Laboratory 407

anussbau@mtholyoke.edu
In this course, students will learn how to analyze data arising from a broad array of observational and experimental studies. Topics covered will include exploratory graphics, description techniques, the fitting and assessment of statistical models, hypothesis testing, and communication of results. Specific topics may include multiple regression, ANOVA, and non-linear regression. Statistical software will be used.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

03
4.00

Pramesh Subedi

TTH 10:00AM-11:15AM

Mount Holyoke College
115849

Clapp Laboratory 402

psubedi@mtholyoke.edu
In this course, students will learn how to analyze data arising from a broad array of observational and experimental studies. Topics covered will include exploratory graphics, description techniques, the fitting and assessment of statistical models, hypothesis testing, and communication of results. Specific topics may include multiple regression, ANOVA, and non-linear regression. Statistical software will be used.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Marie Ozanne

TTH 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
115627

Clapp Laboratory 402

mozanne@mtholyoke.edu
Infectious disease has plagued humanity since time immemorial. Statistical models serve a critical role in improving understanding of the progression and proliferation of infection in a population, as well as the impact of interventions in stopping the spread of disease. In this course, we will explore regression and compartmental model-based approaches, which will be motivated by some of the most impactful epidemics and pandemics in recent history, including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19. R statistical software will be used.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Marie Ozanne

TTH 08:30AM-09:45AM

Mount Holyoke College
115859

Clapp Laboratory 402

mozanne@mtholyoke.edu
Infectious disease has plagued humanity since time immemorial. Statistical models serve a critical role in improving understanding of the progression and proliferation of infection in a population, as well as the impact of interventions in stopping the spread of disease. In this course, we will explore regression and compartmental model-based approaches, which will be motivated by some of the most impactful epidemics and pandemics in recent history, including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19. R statistical software will be used.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Laurie Tupper

MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
115341

Clapp Laboratory 402

ltupper@mtholyoke.edu
This course includes methods for choosing, fitting, evaluating, and comparing statistical models; introduces statistical inference; and analyzes data sets taken from research projects in the natural, physical, and social sciences.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Laurie Tupper

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115777

Clapp Laboratory 401

ltupper@mtholyoke.edu
This course includes methods for choosing, fitting, evaluating, and comparing statistical models; introduces statistical inference; and analyzes data sets taken from research projects in the natural, physical, and social sciences.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
3.00

Rob Dorit

TU TH 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Smith College
BIO-334-01-202201

Seelye 301

rdorit@smith.edu
This course focuses on methods and approaches in the emerging fields of bioinformatics and molecular evolution. Topics include the quantitative examination of genetic variation; selective and stochastic forces shaping proteins and catalytic RNA; data mining; comparative analysis of whole genome data sets; comparative genomics and bioinformatics; and hypothesis testing in computational biology. We explore the role of bioinformatics and comparative methods in the fields of molecular medicine, drug design, and in systematic, conservation and population biology. Prerequisite: BIO 132, or BIO 230, or BIO 232, or permission of the instructor. Laboratory (BIO 335) is strongly recommended but not required.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
2.00

Jessica Rain Grant

TU 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Smith College
BIO-335-01-202201

Bass 103

jgrant@smith.edu
This lab introduces the computational and quantitative tools underlying contemporary bioinformatics. We explore the various approaches to phylogenetic reconstruction using molecular data, methods of data mining in genome databases, comparative genomics, structure-function modeling, and the use of molecular data to reconstruct population and evolutionary history. Students are encouraged to explore datasets of particular interest to them. Prerequisite: BIO 334 (normally taken concurrently), or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 14.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.

01
4.00

Candice Price

M W F 1:20 PM - 2:35 PM

Smith College
MTH-264de-01-202201

Sabin-Reed 220

cprice@smith.edu
This course gives an introduction to the theory and applications of ordinary differential equations. We explore different applications in physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and social sciences. We learn to predict the behavior of a particular system described by differential equations by finding exact solutions, making numerical approximations, and performing qualitative and geometric analysis. Specific topics include solutions to first order equations and linear systems, existence and uniqueness of solutions, nonlinear systems and linear stability analysis, forcing and resonance, Laplace transforms. Prerequisites: MTH 112, MTH 212 and MTH 211 (recommended) or PHY 210, or permission of the instructor.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Julianna S. Tymoczko

TH 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Smith College
MTH-353ac-01-202201

Burton 307

jtymoczko@smith.edu
Calderwood Seminar.Combinatorial ideas permeate biology at all scales, from the combinatorial properties of the sequences of letters (nucleotides) representing DNA and RNA, to the symmetries often observed in cell divisions, to the graphs that can be used to represent evolutionary trees.  We will focus on key combinatorial ideas that arise on multiple scales in biology, including molecular, cellular, and organism, especially: counting and classification, symmetries, and combinatorial graphs.  The class will interview mathematicians and biologists about their current research, and will prepare multiple reports and presentations for different kinds of popular audiences (for example: kids, biologists, and newspapers).  No particular biological background is expected.  MTH 153 and an additional proof-based course are required, or permission of the instructor.  MTH 233 and MTH 254 or their equivalents are useful but not required.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

Contact Us

2021-22 Program Director and Hampshire College Certificate Advisor:

Sarah HewsAssociate Professor of Mathematics, Hampshire College & Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, Amherst College

Amherst College Certificate Advisor:

Tanya Leise, Brian Boyle Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science, Amherst College

Smith College Certificate Advisor:

Christophe GoléProfessor of Mathematics & Statistics, Smith College

Mount Holyoke College Certificate Advisor:

Martha HoopesProfessor of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College

Five College Staff Liaison:

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs