The CORE program consists of three-components:

Spring Semester 2011 - BioMath Forum Schedule

The goals of the first semester of the UBM-CORE program are to:

  1. introduce our students to mathematical biology through a discussion of its history, development, and current research,
  2. discuss relevant mathematical models and statistical methods that are used in ecological research
  3. bring them up-to-date on the biological concerns regarding invasive species in the upper Mississippi River system,
  4. present them with avenues to pursue for their summer projects
  5. have students conduct background reading and master techniques needed for their research,
  6. encourage students to work together to develop a research hypothesis and outline a plan for their summer research experience

Week 1: Initial meeting: introductions, outline of spring semester, initial assessment. (All)
Week 2:
What is Mathematical Biology? History & society.  Current hot topics.  Focused on invasive disease and river ecology. (All)

  • Primary Papers:
    • Mathematics is Biology’s next microscope, only better; Biology is Mathematics’ next Physics, only better
    • Uses and abuses of mathematics in biology
  • Additional Papers:
    • The Crossroads between Biology and Mathematics: The Scientific Method as the Basics of Scientific Literacy
    • A Bright Future for Biologists and Mathematicians?

Week 3: Introduction to Mathematical Modeling and Statistical Analysis (Peirce/Bennie)

  • The mathematics of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus

Week 4: Introduction to Upper Mississippi River System.  Snail/Parasite/Waterfowl development cycle. (Sandland/Haro)   
  • Species interactions in a parasite community drive infection risk in a wildlife population
  • Predicting the ecological outcomes of species invasions and parasite transmission in the upper Mississippi River

Week 5: Developing a strong hypothesis statement. (Sandland)
  • Strong Inference: Certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others.

Week 6: Discussion and outline of possible research avenues in the program. (All)
Week 7: U.S. Geological Survey Upper Mississippi Environmental Science Center tour
  • Finding the Exotic Faucet Snail (Bithynia tentaculata): Investigation of Waterbird Die-Offs on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Spring Break - Students think about and select direction for study and write one paragraph summary.

Week 8 - Student presentations of proposed research hypothesis/direction. (All)
Week 9 - Introduction to relevant mathematical and biological background content for proposed research directions: Non-dimensionalization techniques for SIR and DEB models. (Peirce)
Week 10 - Lab Immersion (Sandland)
Week 11  -  Answered questions about primary literature reading, discussed relevance towards our system, and refined topics for summer projects  (Sandland/Peirce)
Week 12 - Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. (Sandland/Peirce).
Week 13
- Student presentations of proposed summer work and group discussion. (All)
Week 14 - Continued discussion from Week 13.  Plan/outline for summer. (All)

Summer 2011

Team SIR (M. Jansen & M. Rittenhouse)
: Assessing competition between infected and uninfected B. tentaculata.
Preliminary results: Uninfected snails exhibit faster growth in the presence of infected snails compared to other uninfected snails.
Next step: Growth differences will be used to calculate competition coefficients.  These will be incorporated into our current model of disease dynamics in the Mississippi River.

Team DEB (K. Soltau & K. Van Calster)
Project: Investigating resource allocation in infected and uninfected B. tentaculata.
Preliminary results:  Infected snails grow to a larger size than uninfected controls suggesting the manifestation of gigantism. 
Next step:  Data from this study will contribute to the development of energy budget models designed to predict snail responses to infection

Fall Semester 2011 - BioMath Forum Schedule

To be announced.