NIH and NSF Team Up to Link Math and Biology at February 12 Symposium

Natcher Conference Center (Building 45)

Start Date: 2/12/2003 9:00 AM

End Date: 2/12/2003 5:00 PM

The future of biological research depends partly on mathematics.

Math is a key framework for organizing and making sense of the vast amounts of biological data that scientists have generated in recent years. For example, mathematical models are a powerful way to understand complex biological systems.

To bring more mathematicians into biological research, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation are partnering on a math-biology initiative. A component of this effort is an NSF-NIH symposium on "Accelerating Mathematical-Biological Linkages" on Wednesday, February 12, 2003. The symposium will highlight research opportunities at the math-biology interface and encourage collaboration between mathematicians and biological scientists.

As an illustration of the breadth of topics that mathematicians and biologists can address together, symposium sessions will cover conservation ecology, cell structure and function, and bioinformatics and computational problems. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joel E. Cohen, head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. His talk is titled "Mathematics Is Biology's Next Microscope ... Only Better; Biology Is Mathematics' Next Physics ... Only Better." Dr. Margaret Palmer, a professor of entomology and biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, will chair the symposium.

The symposium will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Rooms E1/E2 of the Natcher Conference Center (Building 45) on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. The event is free, but registration is requested at The symposium agenda is at

The partnership between NIH and NSF takes advantage of the strengths of each agency. NIH supports biomedical research and training, while NSF funds research and education in mathematics, biology and other areas of science and engineering.

The NIH sponsors of the meeting are the Office of the Director, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Center for Research Resources.

The NSF meeting sponsors are the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Division of Mathematical Sciences in the Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

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