The Azimuth Project
Mathematical biology


Mathematical biology is the application of mathematics to biology; this term has a bit more emphasis on mathematics than the closely related theoretical biology. Mathematical biology includes or touches on mathematical modeling of biological systems, systems biology, bioinformatics, and computational biomodeling, also called biocomputing.


Here are some recommended textbooks on mathematical biology:

  • Stephen P. Ellner & John Guckenheimer, Dynamics Models in Biology, Princeton U. Press, Princeton, 2006.

  • Mark Kot, Elements of Mathematical Ecology, Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, 2001.

  • Nicholas F. Britton, Essential Mathematical Biology, Springer Undergraduate Mathematics series, Springer, 2007.

  • James D. Murray, Mathematical Biology I: An Introduction. II: Spatial Models, Springer, Berlin, 2007.

See also Quantitative ecology, Population biology, Branching processes.


Here is a list of scientific journals in the general area of mathematical biology:

Evolutionary Bioinformatics

Evolutionary Bioinformatics is an international, peer-reviewed journal focusing on evolutionary bioinformatics. There is growing awareness that to understand organismal form and function, through the use of molecular, genetic, genomic, and proteomic data, due consideration must be given to an organism’s evolutionary context - history constrains the path an organism is obliged to take, and leaves an indelible mark on its component parts. Evolutionary Bioinformatics publishes papers on all aspects of computational evolutionary biology and evolutionary bioinformatics. Official journal of the Bioinformatics Institute.

Systematic Biology

Systematic Biology is the bimonthly journal of the Society of Systematic Biologists. Papers for the journal are original contributions to the theory, principles, and methods of systematics as well as phylogeny, evolution, morphology, biogeography, paleontology, genetics, and the classification of all living things. A Points of View section offers a forum for discussion, while book reviews and announcements of general interest are also featured.

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (TCBB)

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics ( TCBB ) is a scholarly archival journal published quarterly that publishes research results related to the algorithmic, mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that are central in bioinformatics and computational biology; the development and testing of effective computer programs in bioinformatics; the development and optimization of biological databases; and important biological results that are obtained from the use of these methods, programs, and databases.

PLoS Computational Biology

PLoS Computational Biology is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published monthly by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) in association with the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). PLoS Computational Biology features works of exceptional significance that further our understanding of living systems at all scales through the application of computational methods.


Bioinformatics, from Oxford University Press, publishes the highest quality scientific papers and review articles of interest to academic and industrial researchers. Its main focus is on new developments in genome bioinformatics and computational biology. Some articles and archives are open access.

In silico Biology

In silico Biology ( ISB ) is an international a peer-reviewed, open access journal on computational molecular biology. It focuses on biologically significant computational methods and results and aims at providing essential contribution to systems biology. It is issued online (Germany) & print (IOS Press, New Zealand).

BMC Bioinformatics

BMC Bioinformatics is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of computational methods used in the analysis and annotation of sequences and structures, as well as all other areas of computational biology. The journal is published by BioMed Central Ltd, UK.

EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology publishes research results related to signal processing and bioinformatics theories and techniques relevant to a wide area of applications into the core new disciplines of genomics, proteomics, and systems biology.

Algorithms for Molecular Biology

Algorithms for Molecular Biology is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal that encompasses all aspects of algorithms and software tools for molecular biology and genomics. Areas of interest include algorithms for RNA and protein structure analysis, gene prediction and genome analysis, comparative sequence analysis and alignment, phylogeny, gene expression, machine learning, and combinatorial algorithms.

Briefings in Bioinformatics

Briefings in Bioinformatics publishes reviews for the users of databases and analytical tools of contemporary genetics and molecular biology and provides practical help and guidance to the non-specialist.

Journal of Theoretical Biology

The Journal of Theoretical Biology is the leading forum for theoretical papers that give insight into biological processes. It covers a very wide range of topics and is of interest to biologists in many areas of research. Many of the papers make use of mathematics, and an effort is made to make the papers intelligible to biologists as a whole. Experimental material bearing on theory is acceptable. Comment on theoretical issues or on papers published in the journal is welcomed in the form of Letters to the Editors.

Research Areas Include: Cell Biology and Development; Developmental Biology; Ecology; Evolution; Immunology; Infectious Diseases; Mathematical Modeling, Statistics, and Data Bases; Medical Sciences and Plant Pathology; Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry; Physiology.

Journal of Mathematical Biology

The Journal of Mathematical Biology fosters the contribution of mathematical modeling and reasoning to the understanding of biological systems and the explanation of biological phenomena. The journal also serves as a forum for the presentation of biologically inspired problems of a mathematical nature. Published papers provide biological insight as a result of mathematical analysis or identify and open up challenging new types of mathematical problems derived from biological knowledge.

Areas of biology covered include, biofluids, cell biology, physiology, neurobiology and behaviour, development, ecology, population biology, genetics and evolution, epidemiology, immunology, molecular biology, DNA and protein structure and function, and more.

Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

The Bulletin of Mathematical Biology is devoted to research at the junction of computational, theoretical and experimental biology. Articles offer a combination of theory and experiment, documenting theoretical advances with clear exposition of how they further biological understanding. Its aim is to be of major interest to theorists and experimental biologists alike.

This is the official journal of the Society for Mathematical Biology.


Published on behalf of the International Biometric Society, Biometrics emphasizes the role of statistics and mathematics in the biosciences. Its objectives are to promote and extend the use of statistical and mathematical methods in the principal disciplines of biosciences by reporting on the development and application of these methods. A centerpiece of most Biometrics articles is scientific application that sets scientific or policy objectives, motivates methods development, and demonstrates the operations of new methods. Journal of the International Biometric Society

Mathematical Biosciences

Mathematical Biosciences publishes research and expository papers on the formulation, analysis and solution of mathematical models in the biosciences. The journal serves both mathematicians involved in solving model equations or in reaching conclusions that are testable in the real world, and biologists who are interested in forming mathematical models of biological processes and systems.