Mathematical Biology in Canada

Activity Group leader: Frithjof Lutscher, Ottawa, flutsche@uottawa.ca

Mathematical Biology has developed a great deal in the last 25 years and it has now become a core discipline of applied mathematics. The dazzling array of biological data streams that has become available presents a challenge to mathematical and computational modelling that is second to none.

Canada’s mathematical biologists are among the world leaders in the biological significance and broad applications of their work. In recent years, they have modeled an array of problems: from the spread of parasitic lice in salmon populations, to the evolution of bacteria in a changing environment, to the dynamic growth and decay of microtubules in flowering plant cells. Their work encompasses the most basic research: understanding how networks of neuronal cells can synchronize their firing patterns, as well as the most applied: how should a society distribute influenza vaccines in our largest cities to reduce human cost?

The heart of mathematical biology as a discipline is model construction and validation. The form of the model varies widely, from traditional dynamical systems approaches based on ordinary and partial differential equations, to stochastic models, to molecular dynamics. There is often an emphasis on data fitting and statistics, which leads to models that can be applied to real-world applications in industry, public health, or environmental decision making. For this reason, mathematical biologists in Canada commonly collaborate with companies from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, public health and environmental government agencies, as well as with academic colleagues in biological and health sciences.

The Mathematical Biology Activity Group at CAIMS is a Canadian network of researchers in mathematical biology with the aim of facilitating the exchange of ideas and information and fostering collaborative research in mathematical biology. Please see the Activities and Members section for all details and opportunities (menu on the right).