Preparing for the 21th Century
Communicated by: Zvia Agur
On January 29th, 1998, the Israeli Society for Theoretical and Mathematical Biology (ISTMB) held its first Annual Conference. Attracting many scientists from the academia, medical centers and the high-tech industry the Conference marked the transition of Israeli biomathematics from a handful of pioneers into a fully fledged Society representing a large scope of solid and fascinating science. A large attendance of new members was noted at the Conference. Among these were many scientists who had recently immigrated from the former Soviet Union, as well as students from various exact and life sciences faculties who were exposed for the first time to the full potential in mathematical biology. The Forum defined future directions of the Society and elected the new Board, with Zvia Agur as President, and Chana Parnas as vice-president.
The scientific presentations demonstrated a large spectrum of interests, ranging from the mathematical analysis of microscopic biological dynamics, such as those involved in the development of bacteriophage T4 in E. coli, to highly applicative macroscopic problems, such as those relating to artificial fertilization in humans, or to the design of computer-based decision support systems in medical diagnosis. Chaotic like phenomena were demonstrated in systems ranging from protein folding to population genetics, and the complexity of animal behavior was discussed both in rats and in a neural network model for the cockroach evasive behavior. The potential of biomathematics in improving clinical decision making was demonstrated, both for the chemotherapy of breast cancer disease and for AIDS. In the former a model was presented for identifying promising neoadjuvant protocols and in the latter, viral replication following therapy interruption was analyzed in patients that have undergone triple-drug anti-HIV therapy.
These and many other interesting reports, and the overall spirit of enthusiasm which reigned, will hopefully boost the interest in the Israeli Society of Theoretical and Mathematical Biology.
For further details on the society and the conference, you are welcome to visit ISTMB web-site at http://www.tau.ac.il/~biomath.