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IMMC-QEF Teachers & Students Workshop

Mathematical Modeling in Bioscience and Practicing in Teamwork

Date: 8 Dec 2019         Venue: City University of Hong Kong

Dr. Jiangwen Zhang 
Associate Professor, Principal investigator, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong
Personal Website:
Research Interests: 
Dr. Zhang’s lab has broad interest in genetic and epigenetic regulation in development and diseases. They employ high through-put ‘omics’ assays and large scale computation analysis in combination with molecular biology and biochemistry tools. Currently, they are focusing on epigenetic regulation in tumorigenesis and stem cell differentiation, and the crosstalk with gene regulatory network and signaling pathways.

Maths is essential in various subjects to quantify and analyze problems. 

On 8th Dec, we invited Dr. Zhang Jiangwen from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Hong Kong to deliver a workshop titled "Math Modeling in Bioscience and Practicing in Teamwork" at City University of Hong Kong supported by its College of Business.
The workshop allowed teachers and students to join the workshop together which created a chance for them to learn at the same time. Dr. Zhang has broad interest in genetic and epigenetic regulation in development of diseases especially cancer.

Dr. Zhang prepared a few topics for the workshop and hoped that teachers and students can have a primary concepts about how maths can be applied in Bioscience within a whole day workshop.

He introduced the Lotka-Volterra Model (or Predator–Prey Model). It is a model frequently used in describing the interaction between predator and prey, also can understand the changes in their populations. This is a kind of Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE).

Dr. Zhang taught the audience how to use the "R language" to write a program to solve the equation. Dr. Zhang applied a method called "Euler's Method" which is a common method in Numerical Method for solving differential equations.


Through the practice, audiences could learn a new math method/model with the skill of converting ideas into programming language.


Dr. Zhang also talked about the "Circadian Rhythms". He briefly illustrated the complex molecular mechanism behind Circadian Rhythms. The proteins involved in this process including "Period" that we mentioned in our previous post, and 3 more named "Clock", "Cycle" and "Crytochrome" were introduced. The whole mechanism is very complex, but maths could help simplify and clarify the situation. By involving the maths, we can perform simulation and test hypothesis prior to experiment, or raise new hypothesis from mathematical analysis.

Finally, Dr. Zhang mentioned an equation which is always used in biochemistry, which is called "Michaelis-Menten Kinetics". It is also a kind of differential equation and commonly used in studying of the reaction of enzyme.

We deeply thank Dr. Zhang for his time and the great workshop. Moreover, we thank for the teachers and students who attended the workshop and the co-organiser, College of Business of City University of Hong Kong.

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