Dear SMB member:
My best wishes for the New Year.
On behalf of our Society, I am delighted to congratulate Dr. Martin Nowak on being selected as the winner of the first Okubo award. The Award is jointly awarded on behalf of the SMB and the Japanese Association for Mathematical Biology. The Okubo Award promises to become the major award to honor achievements in mathematical biology and theoretical biology. Thanks to the selection committee for their careful consideration of the many excellent nominations.
Early in the New Year I attended the Pacific Symposium in Biocomputing in Mauna Lani, Hawaii. The meeting has a distinctly molecular emphasis, with a large fraction of the papers devoted to mining data from genome data bases, determination of protein structure, developing new methods to display protein structure, and drug discovery. In addition, a range of the papers dealt with more integrative aspects - how gene networks function and physiological modeling. It was interesting to me that though almost all the topics fell under the general area of mathematical biology, I expect only a small percentage of the attendees were members of our Society. It seemed as though most of the attendees had entered the area through training in computer sciences, rather than the routes through mathematics, physics and chemistry of my generation. However, students who are considering entering mathematical biology should be aware that there is literally an explosion of job opportunities in biotechnology for those with good backgrounds in mathematics and biology who also have some computer skills. The growth of our field is being spurred by the development of large databases of various sorts, and the necessity to develop sensible ways to deal with them. The announcement of the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing in 2000, including a call for proposals, is at http://www.cgl.ucsf.edu/psb/ The online proceedings from the current year are at http://www-smi.stanford.edu/projects/helix/psb98/
The Annual Meeting for the Society for Mathematical Biology will be held in conjunction with the European Society for Theoretical and Mathematical Biology in Amsterdam from June 29 - July 3, 1999. Information about this meeting can be found by following the links on the SMB home page The organizers have set an exciting schedule and I am hoping that many SMB members will be able to attend. Student members of the SMB are eligible for Landahl travel awards. Information concerning the Landahl awards will be posted at our web site.
Finally, Mathematics Awareness Month will take place during April 1999, jointly sponsored by the American Mathematics Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Mathematics Association of America. This year the theme will be Mathematics and Biology. You can help foster the recognition of the importance of mathematics in biology by locally organizing seminars and events in your community. In this way we can help build grass roots momentum to this initiative and I encourage all to participate. For more information you can consult The Mathematics Awareness Month website