NIMBioS Legacy Page

We wouldn't be where we are today without all of the great work done by previous NIMBioS staff, leaders, researchers, and students. Our Legacy website contains all archived information dating back to the start of our institute.

A strong foundation, an exciting future

As part of a significant step forward in our journey, we have recently rebranded and are adopting a new name to reflect this transitional state. We are now the National Institute for Modeling Biological Systems. We’re still the NIMBioS you know and love and we are excited for this new chapter together.

We are celebrating this pivotal point for NIMBioS and we express gratitude toward our founding director Dr. Lou Gross for the solid foundation NIMBioS was built upon.

Building on the strong start in life NIMBioS had as an NSF Synthesis Center, we still foster a vibrant community focused on creating new science with our models. We will continue bringing our community together as an intellectual hub for transdisciplinary research and education in the quantitative life sciences. We are focusing on our unique strength in modeling.

We are dedicated to supporting the research community and maintaining our status as an international leader, intellectual center, and emotional heart of the community of mathematical life scientists. How will we do it? We will lower the barriers for students and researchers to learn and accomplish goals within the field.

Our mission is to foster the growth of transdisciplinary approaches within mathematics and biology

NIMBioS is based at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our mission is to support research efforts and researchers across the globe within the fields of mathematics, biology, ecology, public health, the life sciences and more. Building on our history starting out as an NSF Synthesis Center we are now operating as an independent institute. 

We work to foster the collaborative and intellectual space that allows researchers, educators, students, and policy makers to come together and succeed at creative, ambitious, transdisciplinary efforts that each of us would struggle to accomplish on our own. We help researchers in mathematical biology to bring their spark of insight to fruition as a grant proposal, educational program, or new collaboration.

We can help you find a partner in a new area of biology that could benefit from your math, share and promote your work within the broader mathematical biology community, help you find mathematical biology initiatives to lead, by providing intellectual partners and administrative support. If there are other ways we can help, let us know.

The Nature of NIMBioS

The nature of the questions addressed by NIMBioS span all of the life sciences, thus impacting both basic and applied science. These range from specific models and applications (physiological integration, disease projection, reserve design) to fundamental questions about human origins, biosphere functioning, and the emergence of biological patterns at diverse scales.

NIMBioS is a primary location for the rapid analysis of numerous questions of direct public policy concern, from the impacts of biofuel development, to the ongoing challenges of invasions of non-native species, to global change issues related to human activity, to predicting the effectiveness of intervention and mitigation strategies to combat global pandemics.

Established as an NSF Synthesis Center

In 2008, NIMBioS began as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthesis Center supported through NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate via a Cooperative Agreement with the University of Tennessee totaling more than $35 million over ten years. Since 2021, it has transitioned away from NSF Center funding, but is still an active and thriving home for the global math bio community.

NIMBioS is going through a transformation and we are continuing to bring together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to find creative solutions to today's complex biological problems.  

While the original funding and mission of NIMBioS have drawn to a conclusion, NIMBioS is here to stay, continuing to foster and support the community of math bio researchers and we are excited for this new phase of our existence!

Mathematical Modeling and Analysis in Biology

A major goal of mathematical models and analysis in biology is to provide insight into the complexities arising from the non-linearity and hierarchical nature of biological systems. While the primary goal of NIMBioS under the original Center grant was to foster the maturation of cross-disciplinary approaches in mathematical biology and the development of a cadre of researchers who are capable of conceiving and engaging in creative and collaborative connections across disciplines to address fundamental and applied biological questions, our current mission is to support the thriving community we helped to create.

Before NIMBioS, mathematical biology had benefited from the large impact of relatively few individuals and programs that have trained the vast majority of active researchers at this interface. NIMBioS fostered the next step: continuing the development of individuals trained at this interface, but also fostering the development of entire programs that are equipped to educate the array of mathematically competent, biologically knowledgeable and computationally adept researchers needed to address the vast array of challenging questions in this century of biology.


Our mission is to foster the growth of transdisciplinary approaches within mathematics and biology


1122 Volunteer Blvd, Claxton 114
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410

Nina Fefferman, Director


From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Any options, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Stay updated on all things NIMBioS