News from NIMBioS
November 2020
NIMBioS Interactive Launches

A Virtual Collaborative Space for the NIMBioS Community

As with research and educational enterprises everywhere, those of us working at the interface of the quantitative and life sciences have been challenged by the lack of in-person connections and the limitations of the typical at-distance tools available for meetings. We at NIMBioS have decided to use this as an opportunity to offer some alternative tools to assist our community. As was evident from the interactions at the recent Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB) meeting through the use of an avatar-based system, novel tools can assist interactions when properly deployed. We are encouraging the NIMBioS community to make use of our facilities to expand and enhance our traditional collaborative short-term visit groups, working groups, seminars, workshops and tutorials over the next several months.

Virtual Tutorial
NIMBioS Virtual Adaptive Management Tutorial

Meeting dates: October 26-29, 2020

Due to coronavirus concerns, this tutorial, originally scheduled as an in-person event in April, was conducted remotely. There were two webinars each evening for which participants registered. Selected participants attended two breakout hands-on sessions per evening. Read more.

The 12th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Biology and Mathematics
The Twelfth Annual Undergraduate Research Conference provided opportunities for undergraduates to present their research at the interface of biology and mathematics. The conference included two plenary talks, student talks and posters, and a panel discussion on career opportunities.

The conference was conducted remotely this year due to COVID-19 concerns. We utilized the sococo platform that allows for personal avatars to move between rooms and sessions, interact in small groups and also participate in zoom sessions. Training sessions on the use of this platform were held prior to the Conference. Read more.

Upcoming Webinar
Modeling the dynamics of cultural diversification
Part of the DYSOC/NIMBioS Webinar Series on Cultural Evolution
Bernard Koch (Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles)
Erik Gjesfjeld (Archaeology, University of Cambridge, UK)

Abstract: The immense diversity of human culture presents one of the most conspicuous examples of cumulative cultural evolution. In the "Modeling the Dynamics of Cultural Diversification" tutorial, we introduce a suite of concepts and tools to explain the emergence, persistence, and extinction of cultural forms (e.g., art genres, technologies, organizations) over time. Our diversification rate approach allows the analyst to identify both major events and evolutionary mechanisms (e.g., competition, mass extinction) that have shaped the historical diversity of a cultural form. We find this framework useful for explaining long-term cultural dynamics where observed phenomena cannot be easily traced to individual-level mechanisms, and/or individual-level data may be incomplete. We demonstrate our theory and methodological approach through a study of the history of Metal Music over more than three decades, using a complete dataset of all bands active between 1968 and 2000. Over the course of its history, we find strong evidence that the genre has been fundamentally shaped by competition between ideas for the cognitive resources that actors can invest in learning about and reproducing this cultural form over time. 

When: 11:45 a.m. EST Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Unable to attend live? Register at the link above, and you will be emailed a link to the webinar recording. 
Upcoming NIMBioS Workshop
Quantitative Education in Life Science Graduate Programs
This Workshop, supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed due to COVID. It will now be held virtually through NIMBioS Interactive December 1-3, 2020. Applications to participate in the virtual Workshop are being accepted through November 16, 2020. The Workshop is being structured to allow for the individual-to-individual and small group interactions made possible through NIMBioS Interactive, as well as having a variety of breakout sessions on topics suggested in preparation for the original planned dates. Read more.

Past Events Highlight
Summer Research Experiences

The Summer Research Experiences (SRE/REU) program at NIMBioS provides undergrads in math, biology and related fields the opportunity to conduct research in teams with UT professors, NIMBioS researchers, and collaborators on projects at the interface of math and biology. During this eight-week summer program, participants in the past have lived on the UT-Knoxville campus and worked in collaborative teams on a variety of biological research projects using mathematical methods. The topics change each year and cover a range of life science areas including disease and health, evolution, ecology, molecular biology and more. NIMBioS SRE/REU participants have gone on to do amazing things, from publishing their research in academic journals, to winning competitions with their research, to pursuing doctoral studies at the interface of math and biology.
Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, the 2020 NIMBioS SRE program was conducted remotely from June 1-July 10. Students collaborated remotely with NIMBioS staff, their mentors and research team, and other participants. 2020 SRE Program.

Webinar Recordings
Playlist of Dysoc/NIMBioS webinars on cultural evolution. Watch now.
Playlist of NIMBioS/GAMES webinars. Watch now.
Special issue on education of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology
A special issue of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology focused on mathematical biology education has appeared that has strong connections to NIMBioS. The special issue was edited by John Jungck, Raina Robeva and NIMBioS Director Louis Gross. John Jungck and Raina Robeva both served on the NIMBioS Advisory Board and Raina chaired the Board. The development of the special issue was fostered by a short-term visit to NIMBioS by Jungck and Robeva in 2018.
Another product of that short-term visit is a paper in the special issue co-authored by these three that focuses on data science as a driver of quantitative biology education.

Jungck JR, Robeva R, Gross LJ. 2020. Mathematical biology education: Changes, communities, connections, and challenges. Bull Math Biol 82:117.

Robeva, R.S., Jungck, J.R., Gross, L.J. 2020. Changing the nature of quantitative biology education: Data science as a driver. Bull Math Biol 82:127.

Selected Recent NIMBioS Publications
Castonguay, F.M., Sokolow, S.H., De Leo, G.A., Sanchirico, J.N. 2020. Cost effectiveness of combining drug and environmental treatments for

Morozov, A., Abbott, K.C., Cuddington, K., Francis, T., Gellner, G., Hastings, A., Lai, Y.C., Petrovskii, S.V., Scranton, K., Zeeman M.L. 2020. Long transients in ecology: Theory and applications. Physics of Life Reviews 32, 1-40. [from NIMBioS Working Group on Long Transients and Ecological Forecasting]

Morozov, A., Abbott, K.C., Cuddington, K., Francis, T., Gellner, G., Hastings, A., Lai, Y.C., Petrovskii, S.V., Scranton, K., Zeeman M.L. 2020. Long living transients: Enfant terrible of ecological theory? Physics of Life Reviews 32, 55-58. [from NIMBioS Working Group on Long Transients and Ecological Forecasting]

Results produced from NIMBioS research activities are important in measuring our success. Please report your publications and other products resulting from NIMBioS activities. Learn how to acknowledge NIMBioS. For the complete list of NIMBioS products, click here.
NIMBioS is supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.