Math 170 (Fall 2016)

This website will contain all course material for the Fall 2016 section of “Math 170: Mathematical Modeling for the Life Sciences” as taught by Matthew D. Johnston at San Jose State University.

Green sheet:


  • TuTh: 9:00-10:15 a.m., location: MH 223

Instructor Office Hours (DH 215):

  • Tu: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Th: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • By appointment or on Piazza


Grade Breakdown:

  • Homework: 20%
  • Term Tests: 15% (x two)
  • Final Project 20%
  • Final Exam: 30%

Piazza Course Discussion:

Computer Code


Term Tests:

Final Project:

  • Due date: Friday, December 16 (at exam)
  • Topic sign-up spreadsheet
  • Source papers
  • Note: The project must be typeset! (Although I will accept handwritten equations within a typeset body of text.) I would recommend the following programs:
  • Guidelines: 4-5 typeset pages, including:
    • Description of biological system and derivation of mathematical model
    • Mathematical analysis from class (e.g. fixed points, stability, bifurcations)
    • Original computer-derived figures! (e.g. vector fields, trajectory plots)
    • Interpretation of results
  • Note: You do not need to understand every detail of the paper you have been assigned! A good starting point is to see if you can fill in some details which may be omitted in the paper/textbook chapter (e.g. fixed point and stability/Jacobian computations) and see if you can reproduce the computer plots. If it helps, you may simplify parameters. You may also modify the model and perform your own analysis. The project direction is yours.

Final Exam

Lectures (click link for notes)