I teach the course Introduction to Quantitative Modeling for Biology, which is integrated into the biological sciences curriculum at University of Chicago and serves around two hundred students every year. I will discuss the adaptation of this course to online learning, present student assessments results from spring 2020, and share materials that can be incorporated into other courses.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"Teaching Mathematical Epidemiology at Different Mathematical Levels Using a Multiple Representation Theory of Mathematical Modeling"
The COVID-19 pandemic has made mathematical epidemiology a topic of critical importance, providing mathematics educators with an unparalled opportunity. This opportunity is accompanied by a challenge: how do mathematics educators, some of whom have little personal experience with mathematical modeling, teach mathematical epidemiology to their students in courses ranging from precalculus to differential equations, and do so in a way that builds understanding of epidemic disease dynamics as well as mathematical methods? We address this issue by presenting a framework based on a multiple representation theory of mathematical modeling and using that framework to offer examples of building blocks that include a physical simulation activity, model development, parameterization, various methods for analysis and visualization of results, and guidelines for how to get students to use writing to facilitate their understanding.
Moffitt Cancer Center
"High school internship program in integrated mathematical oncology"
Modern cancer research, and the wealth of data across multiple spatial and temporal scales, has created the need for researchers that are well-versed in the life sciences (cancer biology, developmental biology, immunology), medical sciences (oncology) and natural sciences (mathematics, physics, engineering, computer sciences). College undergraduate education traditionally occurs in disciplinary silos, which creates a steep learning curve at the graduate and postdoctoral levels that increasingly bridge multiple disciplines. Numerous colleges have begun to embrace interdisciplinary curricula, but students who double-major in mathematics (or other quantitative sciences) and biology (or medicine) remain scarce. We identified the need to educate junior and senior high school students about integrating mathematical and biological skills, through the lens of mathematical oncology, to better prepare students for future careers at the interdisciplinary interface. The High school Internship Program in Integrated Mathematical Oncology (HIP IMO) at Moffitt Cancer Center has so far trained 59 students between 2015 and 2019. We report here on the program structure, training deliverables, curriculum, and outcomes. We hope to promote interdisciplinary educational activities early in a student's career.
"SIMIODE - Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations: Biological SIMIODE - Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations: Biological Efforts"
SIMIODE is an NSF funded Community of Practice based at www.simiode.org which supports faculty and students in efforts to motivate and teach differential equations in context through modeling. While differential equations is a widely applicable branch of mathematics we share a number of efforts in biological applications which are featured in SIMIODE: population growth, death, and immigration; ant tunnel building; LSD and problem solving; malaria and Ebola; acorns, rodents, and snakes; crop harvesting; intraocular gas bubbles; tumor growth; drug administration; inner ear drug delivery; epidemics; and dialysis. We discuss examples of modeling in the life sciences using data and the full modeling cycle, while introducing mathematical content and supporting students in learning the underlying mathematics. Further, we share news of SCUDEM - SIMIODE Challenge Using Differential Equations Modeling, now in its fifth year is an annual international team challenge, in which students engage in model building using differential equations and share their results for faculty judging and commentary and peer review.