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Louis J. Gross
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology and Mathematics
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
NIMBioS Director
NIMBioS: A National Institute to
Foster Mathematical and Biological Linkages
NIMBioS.org
U.S. Department of
Homeland Security
• Foster new collaborative efforts to investigate
fundamental and applied questions arising in biology
using appropriate mathematical and computational
methods
• Enhance the essential human capacity to analyze
complex biological questions and develop necessary new
mathematics
• Encourage broader public appreciation of the unity of
science and mathematics
U.S. Department of
Homeland Security
Methods include: Working Groups, Investigative Workshops, Tutorials and
education-linked-to-research endeavors.
General Methods
Choosing fundamental problems that will benefit from
cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Choosing applied problems of sufficient general interest
to be readily extended beyond an initial region/
organism/ system.
Building appropriate collaborations to address these
fundamental and applied problems.
Developing education and outreach opportunities to
diversify participation in these collaborations at all
levels.
Specific Methods
Focused research projects (Working Groups) to build
collaboration among diverse communities.
Building collaborations through more open-ended
general problems, addressed through multiple
approaches (Investigative Workshops).
Skill and methods-based programs (Tutorials) that
foster a broader understanding of potential
applications of modern math and computational
science in biology.
An expansive set of education-linked-to-research
endeavors from elementary through post-doctoral
level that provide diverse opportunities at the
math/biology interface.
Why this approach?
The life sciences have become increasingly
quantitative, driven in part by questions linking
multiple organismal levels, requiring enhanced
collaboration between empirical and quantitative
researchers
Although there are several quantitative centers which
include biological efforts, these are driven by inherent
focus in Math/Stat/CS, not fundamental or applied
biology.
Numerous reports emphasize the need for better
quantitative education for life scientists, thus we have
an expansive set of education-linked-to-research
endeavors at multiple levels.
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General Questions for a Working Group
What data are available?
What math and modeling techniques are available?
What are the empirical patterns that cannot be
explained by existing theories?
How can we adapt existing models to fully use available
data?
What kinds of data are needed to better inform the
models?
What new math or modeling techniques and methods
need to be developed?
Metrics of success (Working Groups) :
The major metric is whether the Working Group produces papers and
tools that are transformative and lead to new interdisciplinary
collaborations that result in ongoing research beyond the specific
activities in the original WG request. Assessment of this includes
products of the full WG, of subsets of the WG and through your
collaboration with those outside the WG (such as students) that arise
due to issues discussed by the WG. The impact of these
collaborations may be assessed from papers published, research
proposals submitted for support, new courses developed, new
student projects designed, symposia at scientific meetings, etc.
Another direct metric is whether future activities here and in other
venues arise from the WG. This can be new Working Groups, short-
term visits, projects for our REU program, etc.
Metrics of success (Investigative
Workshops):
The major metric is whether the Workshop leads to new collaborations
that result in transformative science and education. Assessment of
this includes whether you established a new collaboration here that
leads to science/mathematics/educational initiatives beyond what
was discussed here. The impact of these collaborations may be
assessed from papers published, research proposals submitted for
support, new courses developed, new student projects designed,
symposia organized at professional society meetings, etc.
Another direct metric is whether future activities here arise from the
Workshop. This can be Working Groups, short-term visits, projects
for our REU program, etc. We encourage you to consider these as
potential follow-up activities.
Post-doctoral Fellows
Post-docs are independent researchers chosen based upon
a proposal that fits NIMBioS opportunities
Each post-doc is assigned two mentors, one from
mathematical/ computational sciences and one from
biology.
Post-docs are given the opportunity to teach regular UT
classes and to make short term visits to our partner
Minority Serving Institutions.
Sabbatical Fellows - we offer a limited number of
these for visits longer than a month
Short-term Visitors - for periods of a few days to
less than a month to use our facilities or
collaborate
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NIMBioS Advisory Board
 NIMBioS activities are community-driven. We request suggestions from
a broad array of constituents.
 Given the enormous potential breadth of scientific areas across life
sciences and mathematics in which NIMBioS could be involved,
prioritization of effort needs to be made.
 NIMBioS relies on requests from the community to prioritize support, as
evaluated through a formal process utilizing the broad set of expertise of
the external Board of Advisors.
 The Board meets physically once a year and twice virtually to make
recommendations to the Leadership Team on requests for support of
Working Groups, Investigative Workshops, Postdocs and Sabbatical
Fellows. The Board also provides guidance on policies, suggests
methods to advance NIMBioS objectives, evaluates the Institute
leadership, and assists through its Committee to Promote Diversity to
enhance participation by under-represented groups.
 NIMBioS Leadership decides which Tutorials, short-term visitors & REU
students to support.
Innovation: Development of procedures for
community-driven suggestions for science activities
that are vetted by an external advisory board. This had
been the mode of operations at NCEAS and NESCent,
but was novel for the broader biology and mathematics
communities. The breadth of potential areas of
requested support required developing a highly diverse
external Advisory Board to effectively evaluate
requests and provide recommendations to the
Leadership Team.
Education and Outreach
Innovations
• High impact K-12 education/outreach program
• Unique Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of
Mathematics and Biology
• Interdisciplinary, team-oriented REU program
• Unique Research Experience for Veterinary Students program
• Tutorials developing appreciation for new mathematical and
computational approaches for biology
• Establishment of education & outreach collaborations with other
NSF Centers and institutes
• Partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions
K-12 Outreach
Biology in a Box
USA Science & Engineering Festival
Junior Science Symposium
Gadget Girls
Adventures in STEM Camp
Undergraduate Education
Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface
of Biology and Mathematics (2009-present)
In 2011: A total of 110 participants (83 undergraduates)
From 42 institutions in 20 states, Puerto Rico & Canada represented
50 oral and poster presentations by students
REU/REV Summer Program
Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Veterinary Students
•2009-2013
•8 week program
•6 NIMBioS postdocs as mentors
•4-6 group projects/year
•91 participants to date:
• 11 veterinary students
• 5 high school teachers
Diversity
• 70% female
• 1 motility-impaired
• 12 from underrepresented groups
• 8 students from MSI partners
•NSF Centers Education and
Outreach Coordinator (EOC)
Meetings (hosted in Feb 2012)
•Coordinate sessions at SACNAS
meeting, lead organizers of Modern
Math Workshop in October 2012,
part of Diversity Initiative of NSF
Math Institutes
•Joint MBI-NIMBioS-CAMBAM
Summer Graduate Program, 2011
and 2012 at MBI
Collaborations with Other NSF Biology
Centers and Math Institutes
EOC Meeting 2012
Joint MBI-NIMBioS-CAMBAM
Summer Graduate Workshop
2011: Workshop on Mathematical Ecology & Evolution
2012: Workshop on Stochastics Applied to Biological Systems
• 2 weeks
• 40 participants
• Instructors from across North America
• NIMBioS leadership team contributes to:
• Organizing
• Selecting students
• Giving lectures
• Directing team research projects
Tutorials on
Mathematical/Computational
Applications to BiologyHigh Performance Computing (Training-the-Trainer for IT
staff working with biologists) – with NICS (2009)
Optimal Control and Optimization for Biologists (2009)
Graph Theory and Biological Networks (2010)
Fast, Free Phylogenies: HPC for Phylogenetics – with
IPLANT (2010)
Multi-cell, Multi-scale Modelling (2011)
Migration from the Desktop: HPC application of R and other
codes for Biological Applications – with RDAV (2011)
Stochastic Modelling in Biology (2011)
Mathematical Modeling Cell Biology – Virtual Cell (2013)
Diversity
NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all
aspects of activities including gender, ethnicity,
scientific field, career stage, geography and type of
home institution
-The diversity goals are to be clearly stated in the application
guidelines for organizers of potential activities, and diversity statements in
activity applications are an essential part of the selection criterion.
-The Board, the Committee to Promote Diversity, and Leadership Team
work with organizers to help increase the diversity of invited participants
-Each participant is contacted up to 3 times about the demographic survey
and is also contacted up to 3 times about the evaluation survey of his/her
activity
Minority Serving Institution Partnerships
Univ. of Texas, El Paso (UTEP)
Cal State, San Marcos
Fisk University
Howard University
------------
Tennessee State University
North Carolina A&T University
•Priority consideration for
participation in NIMBioS activities
•Visits by NIMBioS post-docs
•Collaboration for curriculum
program development
•Some institutions chosen for
demonstrated interest in math and
biology
UTEP
Fisk
Howard
Evaluation Program
Innovation: We developed a program that
provides evaluations of all activities, centered around
the diverse objectives of these programs. This provides
quick feed-back to activity organizers as well as the
Leadership Team on participants’ perceptions of our
activities. This focus continues but has been expanded
to a systems-based approach to evaluation of center-
scale effectiveness, with particular emphasis on how to
assess the impacts of NIMBioS in developing cross-
disciplinary collaborations and research.
Communication Efforts
• We have a bi-monthly on-line newsletter and have established
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn sites
• NIMBioS website has 900+ html pages, 600+ pdf
docs,345,000+ visits from 187,000+ unique visitors, average of
2:41 min on site, average 2.86 pages per visit
• We have relied almost exclusively on electronic connections –
4,300+ subscribers to bi-monthly newsletter, 28% click-through
rate
• We have issued 66 press releases
Communication Efforts
• NIMBioS Multimedia Content
95 videos including interviews with visiting researchers, 188 blog
posts since start in Sept 2011
• NIMBioS Social Media Program
1450+ followers on Twitter
+ 500+ Facebook fans
Established cloud collaborative document sharing through
NIMBioS.wiggio.com for all activities
NIMBioS projects have received recognition in many media:
Science, Nature, the New York Times, U.S. News and
World Report, among others
Biology by Numbers blog affiliated with the National Public
Radio Science Friday program.
Innovation: A Songwriter-in-Residence program
to encourage outreach to communities that have little
exposure to the interconnections between math and
biology. With artists stipends provided by UT, this has
encouraged NIMBioS researchers to expand their
range of public interactions and has led to exposure for
NIMBioS in several national media formats.
Communications
What we’d like from this meeting?
New collaborative efforts across centers on evaluating
center-scale and within-center scale impacts.
Suggestions on long-term sustainability particularly as it
relates to cross-discipline opportunities.
Suggestions based on success elsewhere in convincing
local administrators of the need for long-term
institutional commitments.
Suggestions on how to enhance cross-center
communications both within the staffs/communities
and to the broader community of
researchers/educators.
Building towards more shared activities internationally.

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Nimbis_overviewcesab

  • 1. Louis J. Gross Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics University of Tennessee - Knoxville NIMBioS Director NIMBioS: A National Institute to Foster Mathematical and Biological Linkages NIMBioS.org U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • 2. • Foster new collaborative efforts to investigate fundamental and applied questions arising in biology using appropriate mathematical and computational methods • Enhance the essential human capacity to analyze complex biological questions and develop necessary new mathematics • Encourage broader public appreciation of the unity of science and mathematics U.S. Department of Homeland Security Methods include: Working Groups, Investigative Workshops, Tutorials and education-linked-to-research endeavors.
  • 3. General Methods Choosing fundamental problems that will benefit from cross-disciplinary collaborations. Choosing applied problems of sufficient general interest to be readily extended beyond an initial region/ organism/ system. Building appropriate collaborations to address these fundamental and applied problems. Developing education and outreach opportunities to diversify participation in these collaborations at all levels.
  • 4. Specific Methods Focused research projects (Working Groups) to build collaboration among diverse communities. Building collaborations through more open-ended general problems, addressed through multiple approaches (Investigative Workshops). Skill and methods-based programs (Tutorials) that foster a broader understanding of potential applications of modern math and computational science in biology. An expansive set of education-linked-to-research endeavors from elementary through post-doctoral level that provide diverse opportunities at the math/biology interface.
  • 5. Why this approach? The life sciences have become increasingly quantitative, driven in part by questions linking multiple organismal levels, requiring enhanced collaboration between empirical and quantitative researchers Although there are several quantitative centers which include biological efforts, these are driven by inherent focus in Math/Stat/CS, not fundamental or applied biology. Numerous reports emphasize the need for better quantitative education for life scientists, thus we have an expansive set of education-linked-to-research endeavors at multiple levels.
  • 9. General Questions for a Working Group What data are available? What math and modeling techniques are available? What are the empirical patterns that cannot be explained by existing theories? How can we adapt existing models to fully use available data? What kinds of data are needed to better inform the models? What new math or modeling techniques and methods need to be developed?
  • 10. Metrics of success (Working Groups) : The major metric is whether the Working Group produces papers and tools that are transformative and lead to new interdisciplinary collaborations that result in ongoing research beyond the specific activities in the original WG request. Assessment of this includes products of the full WG, of subsets of the WG and through your collaboration with those outside the WG (such as students) that arise due to issues discussed by the WG. The impact of these collaborations may be assessed from papers published, research proposals submitted for support, new courses developed, new student projects designed, symposia at scientific meetings, etc. Another direct metric is whether future activities here and in other venues arise from the WG. This can be new Working Groups, short- term visits, projects for our REU program, etc.
  • 11. Metrics of success (Investigative Workshops): The major metric is whether the Workshop leads to new collaborations that result in transformative science and education. Assessment of this includes whether you established a new collaboration here that leads to science/mathematics/educational initiatives beyond what was discussed here. The impact of these collaborations may be assessed from papers published, research proposals submitted for support, new courses developed, new student projects designed, symposia organized at professional society meetings, etc. Another direct metric is whether future activities here arise from the Workshop. This can be Working Groups, short-term visits, projects for our REU program, etc. We encourage you to consider these as potential follow-up activities.
  • 12. Post-doctoral Fellows Post-docs are independent researchers chosen based upon a proposal that fits NIMBioS opportunities Each post-doc is assigned two mentors, one from mathematical/ computational sciences and one from biology. Post-docs are given the opportunity to teach regular UT classes and to make short term visits to our partner Minority Serving Institutions. Sabbatical Fellows - we offer a limited number of these for visits longer than a month Short-term Visitors - for periods of a few days to less than a month to use our facilities or collaborate
  • 15. NIMBioS Advisory Board  NIMBioS activities are community-driven. We request suggestions from a broad array of constituents.  Given the enormous potential breadth of scientific areas across life sciences and mathematics in which NIMBioS could be involved, prioritization of effort needs to be made.  NIMBioS relies on requests from the community to prioritize support, as evaluated through a formal process utilizing the broad set of expertise of the external Board of Advisors.  The Board meets physically once a year and twice virtually to make recommendations to the Leadership Team on requests for support of Working Groups, Investigative Workshops, Postdocs and Sabbatical Fellows. The Board also provides guidance on policies, suggests methods to advance NIMBioS objectives, evaluates the Institute leadership, and assists through its Committee to Promote Diversity to enhance participation by under-represented groups.  NIMBioS Leadership decides which Tutorials, short-term visitors & REU students to support.
  • 16. Innovation: Development of procedures for community-driven suggestions for science activities that are vetted by an external advisory board. This had been the mode of operations at NCEAS and NESCent, but was novel for the broader biology and mathematics communities. The breadth of potential areas of requested support required developing a highly diverse external Advisory Board to effectively evaluate requests and provide recommendations to the Leadership Team.
  • 17. Education and Outreach Innovations • High impact K-12 education/outreach program • Unique Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology • Interdisciplinary, team-oriented REU program • Unique Research Experience for Veterinary Students program • Tutorials developing appreciation for new mathematical and computational approaches for biology • Establishment of education & outreach collaborations with other NSF Centers and institutes • Partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions
  • 18. K-12 Outreach Biology in a Box USA Science & Engineering Festival Junior Science Symposium Gadget Girls Adventures in STEM Camp
  • 19. Undergraduate Education Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Biology and Mathematics (2009-present) In 2011: A total of 110 participants (83 undergraduates) From 42 institutions in 20 states, Puerto Rico & Canada represented 50 oral and poster presentations by students
  • 20. REU/REV Summer Program Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Veterinary Students •2009-2013 •8 week program •6 NIMBioS postdocs as mentors •4-6 group projects/year •91 participants to date: • 11 veterinary students • 5 high school teachers Diversity • 70% female • 1 motility-impaired • 12 from underrepresented groups • 8 students from MSI partners
  • 21. •NSF Centers Education and Outreach Coordinator (EOC) Meetings (hosted in Feb 2012) •Coordinate sessions at SACNAS meeting, lead organizers of Modern Math Workshop in October 2012, part of Diversity Initiative of NSF Math Institutes •Joint MBI-NIMBioS-CAMBAM Summer Graduate Program, 2011 and 2012 at MBI Collaborations with Other NSF Biology Centers and Math Institutes EOC Meeting 2012
  • 22. Joint MBI-NIMBioS-CAMBAM Summer Graduate Workshop 2011: Workshop on Mathematical Ecology & Evolution 2012: Workshop on Stochastics Applied to Biological Systems • 2 weeks • 40 participants • Instructors from across North America • NIMBioS leadership team contributes to: • Organizing • Selecting students • Giving lectures • Directing team research projects
  • 23. Tutorials on Mathematical/Computational Applications to BiologyHigh Performance Computing (Training-the-Trainer for IT staff working with biologists) – with NICS (2009) Optimal Control and Optimization for Biologists (2009) Graph Theory and Biological Networks (2010) Fast, Free Phylogenies: HPC for Phylogenetics – with IPLANT (2010) Multi-cell, Multi-scale Modelling (2011) Migration from the Desktop: HPC application of R and other codes for Biological Applications – with RDAV (2011) Stochastic Modelling in Biology (2011) Mathematical Modeling Cell Biology – Virtual Cell (2013)
  • 24. Diversity NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all aspects of activities including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution -The diversity goals are to be clearly stated in the application guidelines for organizers of potential activities, and diversity statements in activity applications are an essential part of the selection criterion. -The Board, the Committee to Promote Diversity, and Leadership Team work with organizers to help increase the diversity of invited participants -Each participant is contacted up to 3 times about the demographic survey and is also contacted up to 3 times about the evaluation survey of his/her activity
  • 25. Minority Serving Institution Partnerships Univ. of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) Cal State, San Marcos Fisk University Howard University ------------ Tennessee State University North Carolina A&T University •Priority consideration for participation in NIMBioS activities •Visits by NIMBioS post-docs •Collaboration for curriculum program development •Some institutions chosen for demonstrated interest in math and biology UTEP Fisk Howard
  • 26. Evaluation Program Innovation: We developed a program that provides evaluations of all activities, centered around the diverse objectives of these programs. This provides quick feed-back to activity organizers as well as the Leadership Team on participants’ perceptions of our activities. This focus continues but has been expanded to a systems-based approach to evaluation of center- scale effectiveness, with particular emphasis on how to assess the impacts of NIMBioS in developing cross- disciplinary collaborations and research.
  • 27. Communication Efforts • We have a bi-monthly on-line newsletter and have established Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn sites • NIMBioS website has 900+ html pages, 600+ pdf docs,345,000+ visits from 187,000+ unique visitors, average of 2:41 min on site, average 2.86 pages per visit • We have relied almost exclusively on electronic connections – 4,300+ subscribers to bi-monthly newsletter, 28% click-through rate • We have issued 66 press releases
  • 28. Communication Efforts • NIMBioS Multimedia Content 95 videos including interviews with visiting researchers, 188 blog posts since start in Sept 2011 • NIMBioS Social Media Program 1450+ followers on Twitter + 500+ Facebook fans Established cloud collaborative document sharing through NIMBioS.wiggio.com for all activities NIMBioS projects have received recognition in many media: Science, Nature, the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, among others Biology by Numbers blog affiliated with the National Public Radio Science Friday program.
  • 29. Innovation: A Songwriter-in-Residence program to encourage outreach to communities that have little exposure to the interconnections between math and biology. With artists stipends provided by UT, this has encouraged NIMBioS researchers to expand their range of public interactions and has led to exposure for NIMBioS in several national media formats. Communications
  • 30. What we’d like from this meeting? New collaborative efforts across centers on evaluating center-scale and within-center scale impacts. Suggestions on long-term sustainability particularly as it relates to cross-discipline opportunities. Suggestions based on success elsewhere in convincing local administrators of the need for long-term institutional commitments. Suggestions on how to enhance cross-center communications both within the staffs/communities and to the broader community of researchers/educators. Building towards more shared activities internationally.

Editor's Notes

  1. Workshop on Social Evolution and Working Group on Ocean Viral Dynamics
  2. Acted as mentor to new Director at SESYNC