University Modeling Instruction (UMI) is an approach to curriculum and pedagogy that focuses instruction on engaging students in building, validating, and deploying scientific models. Modeling Instruction has been successfully implemented in both high school and university physics courses. Studies within the physics education research (PER) community have identified UMI's positive impacts on learning gains, equity, attitudinal shifts, and self-efficacy. While the success of this pedagogical approach has been recognized within the physics community, the use of models and modeling practices is still being developed for biology. Drawing from the existing research on UMI in physics, we describe the theoretical foundations of UMI and how UMI can be adapted to include an emphasis on models and modeling for undergraduate introductory biology courses. In particular, we discuss our ongoing work to develop a framework for the first semester of a two-semester introductory biology course sequence by identifying the essential basic models for an introductory biology course sequence.