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Incorporating Biological Problems into Mathematics Courses Lester Caudill Kathy Hoke University of Richmond Department of Mathematics and Computer Science lcaudill@richmond.edu A Report on a Non-existent* White Paper * For now

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What is a “White Paper”?

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A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them.

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What is a “White Paper”? A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. WPs are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. WPs are used to educate readers and help people make decisions.

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What is a “White Paper”? A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. A report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. WPs are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. WPs are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. The thing in the binder is NOT the white paper! The thing in the binder is NOT the white paper!

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Combining Biology and Math Three possible approaches: Three possible approaches:

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Combining Biology and Math Three possible approaches: Three possible approaches: Incorporate biological applications into existing math coursesIncorporate biological applications into existing math courses

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Combining Biology and Math Three possible approaches: Three possible approaches: Incorporate biological applications into existing math coursesIncorporate biological applications into existing math courses Incorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology coursesIncorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology courses

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Combining Biology and Math Three possible approaches: Three possible approaches: Incorporate biological applications into existing math coursesIncorporate biological applications into existing math courses Incorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology coursesIncorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology courses Create new “hybrid” mathematical biology/biomathematics coursesCreate new “hybrid” mathematical biology/biomathematics courses

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Combining Biology and Math Three possible approaches: Three possible approaches: Incorporate biological applications into existing math coursesIncorporate biological applications into existing math courses Incorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology coursesIncorporate mathematical techniques into existing biology courses Create new “hybrid” mathematical biology/biomathematics coursesCreate new “hybrid” mathematical biology/biomathematics courses

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Working Group: “Incorporating Bio into Math Courses” “Incorporating Bio into Math Courses” Formed at Quantitative Biology meeting at ETSU, July 2007 Formed at Quantitative Biology meeting at ETSU, July 2007

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Why Work Bio into Math Courses?

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Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics

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Why Work Bio into Math Courses? Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology

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Why Work Bio into Math Courses? Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology Prepare mathematics students to support and contribute to modern biological research Prepare mathematics students to support and contribute to modern biological research

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Why Work Bio into Math Courses? Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Help students recognize, appreciate, and utilize the interconnections between biology and mathematics Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology Prepare biology students for modern quantitative biology Prepare mathematics students to support and contribute to modern biological research Prepare mathematics students to support and contribute to modern biological research Reflect on what Pat and Malcolm said Reflect on what Pat and Malcolm said

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Different Levels of Integration (of bio into math courses)

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1. Keep math course as it is, but insert biological applications (i.e. “flavoring” an existing course)

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Different Levels of Integration (of bio into math courses) 1. Keep math course as it is, but insert biological applications (i.e. “flavoring” an existing course) 2. Adapt the math topics in an existing course to include bio-friendly topics

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Different Levels of Integration (of bio into math courses) 1. Keep math course as it is, but insert biological applications (i.e. “flavoring” an existing course) 2. Adapt the math topics in an existing course to include bio-friendly topics 3. Build a new math course, including only bio-relevant math topics (e.g. math methods for biology)

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses

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Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this.

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. This is true on both sides of the fence.This is true on both sides of the fence.

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses

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Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests Biologists want to work on the biology coursesBiologists want to work on the biology courses

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests Biologists want to work on the biology coursesBiologists want to work on the biology courses Mathematicians want to work on the math coursesMathematicians want to work on the math courses

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests Biologists want to work on the biology coursesBiologists want to work on the biology courses Mathematicians want to work on the math coursesMathematicians want to work on the math courses Evidence: Working group membershipsEvidence: Working group memberships

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses

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Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do To identify “new” applications, need people well-educated in both biology and mathTo identify “new” applications, need people well-educated in both biology and math

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do To identify “new” applications, need people well-educated in both biology and mathTo identify “new” applications, need people well-educated in both biology and math Even bio-mathematicians usually only know the biology directly related to their research field Even bio-mathematicians usually only know the biology directly related to their research field

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Need real data sets to work withNeed real data sets to work with

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Need real data sets to work withNeed real data sets to work with Not many texts available as resourcesNot many texts available as resources

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses

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Challenge #4: Implementation issues Challenge #4: Implementation issues

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #4: Implementation issues Challenge #4: Implementation issues Possible conflict between adapting course content for biological purposes and maintaining content needed for succeeding math coursesPossible conflict between adapting course content for biological purposes and maintaining content needed for succeeding math courses

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Four Challenges to Incorporating Bio into Math Courses Challenge #4: Implementation issues Challenge #4: Implementation issues Possible conflict between adapting course content for biological purposes and maintaining content needed for succeeding math coursesPossible conflict between adapting course content for biological purposes and maintaining content needed for succeeding math courses Resource issues (faculty dev time, course revision time, team teaching credit)Resource issues (faculty dev time, course revision time, team teaching credit)

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Addressing the “Four Challenges”

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Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this.

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Not everyone will buy into the idea – THIS IS OKAY! (PR can help)Not everyone will buy into the idea – THIS IS OKAY! (PR can help)

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Challenge #1: Not everyone recognizes the importance of doing this. Not everyone will buy into the idea – THIS IS OKAY! (PR can help)Not everyone will buy into the idea – THIS IS OKAY! (PR can help) Just need at least one biologist and at least one mathematicianJust need at least one biologist and at least one mathematician

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Addressing the “Four Challenges”

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Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests Many of the same math-bio connections will serve both sides, so WORK TOGETHER!Many of the same math-bio connections will serve both sides, so WORK TOGETHER!

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #2: Competing interests Challenge #2: Competing interests Many of the same math-bio connections will serve both sides, so WORK TOGETHER!Many of the same math-bio connections will serve both sides, so WORK TOGETHER! Each connection should be good for use in both bio and math coursesEach connection should be good for use in both bio and math courses

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Addressing the “Four Challenges”

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Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Work together and share! (e.g. existing courses – see wiki)Work together and share! (e.g. existing courses – see wiki)

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Challenge #3: Identifying and utilizing good biological applications of mathematics is difficult to do Work together and share! (e.g. existing courses – see wiki)Work together and share! (e.g. existing courses – see wiki) Need a repository of math applications in biology (More about this later)Need a repository of math applications in biology (More about this later)

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Addressing the “Four Challenges”

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Challenge #4: Implementation issues Challenge #4: Implementation issues

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Addressing the “Four Challenges” Challenge #4: Implementation issues Challenge #4: Implementation issues Decide on goals and consequences at the start, then proceed accordinglyDecide on goals and consequences at the start, then proceed accordingly

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Repository of Applications

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Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization

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Repository of Applications Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization E.g.:E.g.: Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics

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Repository of Applications Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization E.g.:E.g.: Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics Each contribution includes biological backgroundEach contribution includes biological background

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Repository of Applications Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization Bio-math people contribute applications from their fields of specialization E.g.:E.g.: Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Lester contributes applications from bacteria- antibiotic dynamics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Edith contributes applications from biostatistics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics Laurie contributes applications from bioinformatics Each contribution includes biological backgroundEach contribution includes biological background Searchable, organized by math topic and by bio topic, with indications of level of sophistication of eachSearchable, organized by math topic and by bio topic, with indications of level of sophistication of each

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Repository of Applications This would be a significant undertaking This would be a significant undertaking

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Repository of Applications This would be a significant undertaking This would be a significant undertaking Requires a curator (not named Lester!)Requires a curator (not named Lester!)

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Repository of Applications This would be a significant undertaking This would be a significant undertaking Requires a curator (not named Lester!)Requires a curator (not named Lester!) Q: Is this something that HHMI, NSF, or NIH would sponsor? Q: Is this something that HHMI, NSF, or NIH would sponsor?

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Concluding Remarks

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Begin stimulating audience discussion now… Begin stimulating audience discussion now…

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