MBBM – Creating Case Based Curriculum at the Intersection of Biology and Mathematics

Posted by on Jan 08 2009 |


 Creating Case Based Curriculum at the Intersection of Biology and Mathematics  

 Group – Pat Marsteller, John Pelesko, John Jungck, Margaret Waterman

History – Builds on two prior HHMI sponsored meetings (ETSU 2007 and HHMI 2008) See http://wikifuse.pbwiki.com/HHMIQuantBioMiniGrant

Goal – Bring together teams of biologists and mathematicians to develop case based and PBL-like exercises for education in biology, mathematics, and quantitative biology. Hidden goal – help students see the connections between mathematics and biology. Attract students to the area of
mathematical or quantitative biology.


Format – 3 1/2 day workshop

Participants – Approximately 24 attendees, organized into groups of 4. Each team will contain two biologists, two mathematicians, and representatives from at least two different institutions.

Sponsors – Emory, UD, HHMI, SMB, Southeast’s Godwin Center, BQ, Others???

Two Project Model – Adopt & Adapt, New Project  Participants will both see materials that exist and create new materials for their needs.

Special Features – Meeting will include talks by researchers working at the intersection of mathematics and biology. (Try to get Alain Goriely – http://math.arizona.edu/~goriely/)

Tentative Schedule – 

 daily goals Tues  7/15What’s out there, learning about cases and linking math and bio, adapt and adopt Wed 7/16Reporting on early work, group formation, project definition, sharing current work from home Thur 7/17Work on projects, planning for assessment and implementation Fri 7/18Reporting on second project, planning for implementatino, planning for ongoing communication
8:30 Introductions Work time  Discussion:  assessment issues (30-45 minutes) Big presentations
10 ish (includes break of 30 min) Try it out: Do a case and use a math tool (TBA) to investigate that case (case and tool given) 10:30  Small presentations on first project   Work time and consultative interviews with groups Wrap up and closure
12-1:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch  
1:30-2:30 Talk:  John PeleskoMath-bio Speaker (maybe Alain G?) Discussion:  Implementation issues  
2:30-5 (includes break of 30 min) Adapt and Adopt: Choose one of 8 cases and one of 8 tools and develop an application Long intros:  Who we participants are and what we hope to accomplishStart second project: choose own math and biology projct to develop.Help groups form Work time and technical assistance as needed  
4 or 5 – 6 pm Talk:  John JungckBio-math 4:30-6  Reception and posters to share of what doing at own institution in QB Work time  

 Local Arrangements – Pat Marstellar

Key things to do

  • Develop a menu of at least 10 cases for adopt & adapt
  • Invite speakers/participants
  • Review outcomes from prior meetings
  • Find other sponsors?

Cases for Adopt & Adapt  

Case area ideas

Math area ideas


SIR model


Logistic growth

Developmental bio


Molecular biology

Calculus/ rates

Cell biology

Statistics/ hypothesis testing

Organismal biology

Discrete mathematics





 Note – We need cases that span a wide range of mathematics, for example, transcendental functions, discrete mathematics, statistics, etc. and that focus on different parts of biology

Subgoal for SCOPE 2009 – Develop at least one case for the adopt/adapt portion of the meeting. As a nucleus we’ll use a case developed by John P. involving invasive species.

3 comments for now

3 Responses to “MBBM – Creating Case Based Curriculum at the Intersection of Biology and Mathematics”

  1. clin@winona.edu

    How about including linear algebra (vectors, matrices, etc.) in the Math area ideas?

    08 Jan 2009 at 11:25 am

  2. stanleye@beloit.edu

    Quantitative biology live! (As in SNL)

    09 Jan 2009 at 12:56 pm

  3. aolifer@emory.edu

    If you are interested in biology areas where to apply math then I would certainly suggest/support neuroscience.

    09 Jan 2009 at 1:04 pm

Trackback URI |


OER Commons Pittsburgh School of Education
Emory CSE