NIMBioS News
 Bi-Monthly News from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
July-August 2013, Vol 5, Issue 4
Insect Pest Resistance Evolution Investigative Workshop
(August 12 deadline!)

Support for Working Groups
(Sept. 1 deadline)

Support for Investigative Workshops
(Sept. 1 deadline)

Sabbatical Fellowships
(Sept. 1 deadline)

Postdoctoral Fellowships
(Sept. 1 deadline)

(Sept. 27 support deadline; Nov. 1 registration deadline)

(Oct. 28 deadline)  

Report Your Results
NIMBioS Wins Renewal from National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation has awarded $18.6 million to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in July for the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis to continue its interdisciplinary efforts in developing new mathematical approaches to problems across biology, from the level of the genome to individuals to entire ecosystems.

The award covers the next five years and renews the work of the Institute, which was initially funded by a five-year, $16 million NSF award in 2008. NIMBioS is also supported by UT.

Since NIMBioS was established in 2008, more than 3,500 researchers from every state in the US, Washington DC and Puerto Rico and more than 55 countries have participated in NIMBioS' scientific activities, which include workshops, smaller working group meetings, tutorials, postdoctoral and sabbatical fellowships, short-term visits, and a wide variety of educational and outreach events for elementary school-aged children up to post-graduate students. Click here to read more. 

Featured Science: Chronic Harvesting Threatens Tree

Chronic harvesting of a tropical tree that many local communities in Western Africa depend on can alter the tree's reproduction and drastically curtail fruit and seed yields over the tree's lifetime, according to a new study published in the Journal of Ecology.  

The study is the first of its kind to use what's called "age-from-stage" mathematical modeling, a way of estimating a plant's age from its size, to investigate how harvesting affects a plant's life expectancy and other life history traits, such as age at maturity.

In this case, the tree Khaya senegalensis, commonly known as African mahogany, is found in many habitats in Western Africa, from forests to savanna woodland, and is considered a vulnerable species due to drought and logging. The tree is heavily harvested for its leaves, to feed cattle, and for its bark, which is used medicinally to treat many ailments, from stomachaches to reducing malaria fevers.

Citation: Gaoue OG, Horvitz CC, Ticktin T, Steiner UK, Tuljapurkar S. 2013. Defoliaton and bark harvesting affect life history traits of a tropical tree. Journal of Ecology. Published  online 5 August 2013.
Education Spotlight: Fifth Annual Undergraduate Research Conference
Registration is underway to attend the fifth annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology, to be held Nov. 16-17, 2013, at the University of Tennessee Conference Center. Student talks and posters are featured as well as a panel discussion on career opportunities. A limited amount of support is available to cover the cost of registration, lodging and travel; the deadline for requesting NIMBioS funding is September 23. Registration deadline for the conference is November 1. Click here for more information and the online application forms.
Video Feature: Talking to the Animals
One might call NIMBioS postdoctoral fellow Arik Kershenbaum a Doctor Doolittle of sorts. In this video, Kershenbaum explains how he uses mathematics to study animal vocal communication. Kershenbaum is co-organizer of the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Analyzing Animal Vocal Communication Sequences to be held in October. The workshop will bring together biologists, cognitive psychologists, computational linguists, mathematicians and computer scientists to investigate the quantitative analysis of animal vocal sequences.
Upcoming Research and Training Opportunities at NIMBioS
Applications are now being accepted for the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Insect Pest Resistance Evolution, to be held Nov. 14-15, 2013, at NIMBioS. The workshop will focus on developing a modeling framework to provide guidance on the absolute time required for resistance to evolve in given systems and will aid in designing sustainable crop protection strategies.  Application deadline: August 12, 2013. For more information about the workshop and how to apply, click here.
September 1 is the deadline for submitting proposals for new scientific and educational activities at NIMBioS, including Working GroupsInvestigative Workshops, Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Sabbatical Fellowships. Although all areas at the interface of mathematics and biology are acceptable, potential organizers are particularly encouraged to submit requests for Working Groups and Investigative Workshops in areas of molecular biology, cell biology, network biology, and systems biology. Click here for details.
Applications are now being accepted for the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Transmission of Vectored Plant Viruses, to be held March 17-19, 2014, at NIMBioS. This workshop will bring together experts in plant pathogens, agronomy, and vector and plant virology, physiology, and ecology with mathematical and statistical modelers to discuss problems in prevention and control of vector transmission of plant pathogens. Application deadline: October 28, 2013. For more information and how to apply, click here.
Are you a graduate student interested in getting more research experience in mathematical biology with top-notch scientists? The new Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship supports visits to NIMBioS for up to several months by graduate students interested in pursuing research with NIMBioS senior personnel, postdoctoral fellows or working group participants.Applications are considered year-round. For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, click here.


The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is funded by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


NIMBioS is located at the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
1122 Volunteer Blvd, Suite 106, Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
Phone: +1 865 974 9334
Fax: +1 865 974 9300
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