Truman’s Mathematical Biology Program Makes Waves in San Jose

A group of faculty and students involved in Truman’s National Science Foundation (NSF) supported interdisciplinary training program in mathematical biology were in San Jose, Calif., from July 31-Aug. 4 to share the results of their work and to learn about the work of others.

A group of 16 Truman students and faculty members from mathematics, biology and computer science interacted with others from the life and mathematical sciences at a conference dedicated to work at the intersection of the two sciences. The conference was an annual gathering of the Society for Mathematical Biology which this year was held jointly with the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology.

The faculty were Michael Adams, associate professor of mathematics; Jon Beck, associate professor of computer science; Dean DeCock, associate professor of mathematics; Michael Kelrick, professor of biology; and Jason Miller, associate professor of mathematics. The biology students were James Franklin, a senior from Columbia, Mo.; Jacob Henderson, a senior from Holts Summit, Mo.; Elise Walck, a junior from St. Charles, Mo.; and Nathan Whelan, a senior from Eureka, Mo. The computer science students were Jonathan Vollmer, a junior from Belleville, Ill., and Josh Kangas, a senior from Kirksville. The mathematics students were Tracey Blasingame, a junior from Belvidere, Ill.; Bryan Hartwig, a junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Chris Hassett, a junior from Manchester, Mo.; Josh Kelly, a senior from House Springs, Mo.; and alumnus Bill Leeds (’06). All students presented their work in the poster presentation session. Adams gave a contributed talk titled “Graph Decompositions for Demographic Loop Analysis,” and Kelrick gave a contributed talk titled “Unlikely ‘gladefellows’: facilitation of a rare annual herb (Missouri bladderpod, Lesquerella filiformis) by an invasive native tree (Eastern red cedar, Juniperus virginiana).”

Leeds represented Truman’s program in a minisymposium dedicated to the work of schools that have received similar NSF funding. Through his invited talk, “Spatiotemporal analyses of the abundance of Missouri bladderpod (Lesquerella filiformis): conservation of a rare plant species on federal land,” he conveyed to the audience the program’s high expectations and high level of achievement as well as how seriously we take interdisciplinary work.

This material is the result of work supported by the National Science Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in Biology and Mathematics program under Grant No. 0436348, “Research-focused Learning Communities in Mathematical Biology.” Information about Truman’s Mathematical Biology program can be found online at and by contacting Miller at
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