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NIMBioS Tuesday Seminar Series

Species montage. In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in Room 206 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us. The schedule will be supplemented as additional speakers are added.

Video Archive of NIMBioS Seminars
Archived Seminar Calendars:   2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009

Date Speaker
Topic
  January 2017
Jan 31 Oyita Udiani, NIMBioS postdoctoral fellow Mathematical models of social dynamics and task organization in animal societies
  March 2017
Mar 23 Richard Rebarber, Mathematics, Univ. of Nebraska Feedback control approaches to population management
  April 2017
Apr 7 12 p.m. Dr. Brad Greening, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases Simple models for public health decision making and emergency response
Apr 11 Suzanne Alonzo,* Institute of Marine Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz The social side of sex: Male/female coevolution and social plasticity affect reproductive patterns
Apr 13 1 p.m. NIMBioS Rm 103 Dr. Eric Lofgren, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State Univ. The patient-patch: Recasting hospital epidemiology as an ecology problem
Apr 18 Ward Wheeler,* Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, NY, NY Improvements in tree and network alignment algorithms
  September 2017
Sep 25 Elizabeth Borer,* Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Univ. of Minnesota TBA
*NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellows Invited Distinguished Visitor

Seminar Abstracts:


W. Wheeler photo. Time/Date: 3:30 Tuesday, April 18
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Ward Wheeler, Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, NY, NY; NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellows Invited Distinguished Visitor
Topic: Improvements in tree and network alignment algorithms
Abstract: Tree-Alignment (sensu Sankoff) has been known to be NP-hard for some time. Recent improvements in both the quality (in terms of optimality score) and time complexity of heuristic approaches to this problem are discussed in the context of soft-wired networks. The effectiveness of these approaches to both simulated and real data sets are discussed. Click here for more information. Seminar flyer (pdf).

E. Lofgren photo. Time/Date: 1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 13
Location: NIMBioS, Room 103, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Eric Lofgren, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State Univ.
Topic: The Patient-Patch: Recasting hospital epidemiology as an ecology problem
Abstract: Healthcare-associated infections are a major source of mortality in the United States and abroad, and represent a severe drain on the healthcare system. These infections arise from the complex interactions between microbes, patients, providers and the built environments, and have proved difficult to control and eradicate. In this talk, we will explore parallels between hospital epidemiology and ecology, suggesting new avenues to improve the science of infection control, design interventions and improve patient safety. Click here for more information.

S. Alonzo photo. Time/Date: 3:30 Tuesday, April 11
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Suzanne Alonzo, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellows Invited Distinguished Visitor (host Sarah Flanagan)
Topic: The social side of sex: Male/female coevolution and social plasticity affect reproductive patterns
Abstract: Extensive empirical and theoretical research has focused on understanding the diversity of reproductive patterns and behavioral interactions observed in nature. I have argued that considering both coevolutionary dynamics and social interactions can improve our ability to explain and predict this striking variation. In my talk, I will discuss why these dynamics are essential for understanding the evolution of male and female reproductive traits. I will first present the results of some general theory examining how social interactions affect evolutionary dynamics and discuss extensions of this theory to our understanding of specific reproductive behaviors. I will then present some data on how interactions between the sexes at mating and fertilization affect sexual selection, potentially driving the evolution of sperm allocation and paternal care in a Mediterranean fish (the ocellated wrasse, Symphodus ocellatus). Finally, I will discuss what these and other similar empirical patterns have to say about what theory and data are needed if we wish to improve our understanding of and capacity to predict the diversity of reproductive patterns observed in nature. Click here for more information. Seminar flyer (pdf).

B. Greening photo. Time/Date: 12:00 p.m. Friday, April 7
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Brad Greening,
Topic: Simple models for public health decision making and emergency response
Abstract: This talk will discuss the value of simple models that can be built quickly and with available data to aid public health decision makers in response to catastrophic infectious disease events. Concepts will be illustrated using an example from CDC's Ebola Response, where a simple model was developed to assess the costs and benefits of a proposed intervention to provide prophylactic antimalarial treatment to all contacts of a suspected Ebola case. Click here for more information.

R. Rebarber photo. Time/Date: 3:30 Thursday, March 23
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Richard Rebarber, Mathematics, Univ. of Nebraska
Topic: Feedback control approaches to population management
Abstract: We describe three novel uses of feedback control for population management problems, and give case studies for each of them. We assume that the controller has sampled access to an observation of the system, for instance, a count of those members in the reproductive stage of the population. The problems and tools we will discuss are: (1) For the eradication of an invasive species, we propose the use of high gain tracking to determine effective and robust application of pesticide or biological control; (2) For the conservation of an endangered species, we propose the use of low gain tracking to determine effective and robust restocking (such as replanting); (3) To robustly identify the entire state of the system and improve the estimates of the system parameters, we can use the Kalman filter. These types of controllers do not minimize cost like optimal control will, but they can work in the presence of quite a bit of uncertainty. Click here for more information. Seminar flyer (pdf).

S. Udiani photo. Time/Date: 3:30 Tuesday, January 31
Location: Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Oyita Udiani, NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow
Topic: Mathematical models of social dynamics and task organization in animal societies
Abstract: A key factor in the success of social animals is their organization of work. Mathematical models have been instrumental in showing how complex organizational strategies like division of labor can emerge from the interactions of individuals following simple rules. However, not much is known about how these strategies are regulated in response to environmental changes. In this talk, I will present some ongoing projects to explore this question using experimental colonies of the harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex spp). I discuss how a behavioral modeling approach (i.e., one that examines the mechanisms of decision-making at the individual level) can provide insights into the organizational patterns and productivity differences observed in experiments. Examples to be discussed include collective foraging in mature colonies and offspring care in newly formed ones. Click here for more information. Seminar flyer (pdf).