Theory and Mathematics in Biology and Medicine

June 29 - July 3, 1999
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A meeting organised under auspices of:
  • The European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ESMTB)
  • The Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB)
  • The Netherlands Society for Theoretical Biology (NSTB)

The international conference on Theory and Mathematics in Biology and Medicine 1999 will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from Tuesday June 29 through Saturday July 3, 1999. The organising committee is pleased to invite colleagues all over the world to join this conference.

Theoretical and mathematical biology and medicine is a diverse field in which interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for progress. The field ranges from experimental research linked to mathematical modelling to the development of more abstract mathematical frameworks in which observations about the real world can be interpreted and with which new hypotheses for testing can be generated. More recently, much attention is also paid to the development of efficient algorithms for complex computations and visualization, notably in molecular biology and genetics (i.e. genome mapping).

The TMBM99 conference aims to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration between mathematicians and the bioscientists and to act as the main forum for the exchange of recent research results and new research directions to the widest possible community in theoretical biology and medicine. The meeting is unique in that it is the fourth official tri-annual congress of the European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ESMTB) joined with the annual conference of the Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB) for 1999. The conference is organised by the Netherlands Society for Theoretical Biology, the world's oldest society for theoretical biology. Through these links, this will be the first World Congress devoted to one of the fastest growing domains in science where experimental biology and medicine, biochemistry, mathematics, computational science, physics and various fields of technology come together to attack many problems of great relevance to society.

In this third and final announcement you will find information about the scientific program and about the possibilities to present oral and poster contributions. In addition we provide some information on registration and submission of abstracts and we guide you to our web page for actual registration and submission.

Organising committee:
Andre de Roos, Frank van den Bosch, Paul Doucet, Odo Diekmann, Patsy Haccou, Hans Heesterbeek, Lia Hemerik, Jaap Kaandorp, Carolien de Kovel, Mirjam Kretzschmar, Bob Kooi, Matthijs Luger, Jaap van Pelt, Hans Westerhoff.

Scientific committee:
Zvia Agur, Wolfgang Alt, Albert Goldbeter, Lou Gross, Mats Gyllenberg, Reinhart Heinrich, Andreas Herz, Paulien Hogeweg, Yoh Iwasa, Vlastimil Krivan, Yuri Kuznetsov, Alan Perelson, Andrea Pugliese, Chris Sander, Angela Stevens.

As of December 1998, the conference is financially supported by:
The Society of Mathematical Biology (SMB), and
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Scientific Program
The scientific program is organised on the basis of a subdivision into specific subjects. Oral and poster contributions by participants are possible.

There will be several parallel sessions each day. Three different types of sessions are planned:

  1. Day sessions:
    These sessions cover an entire day. They include two invited speakers in the morning and shorter contributions (15 min.) during the rest of the day.

  2. Afternoon sessions:
    These sessions consist exclusively of a series of shorter contributions (15 min.).

  3. Poster sessions:
    Poster sessions will be organised in the central hall of the Vrije Universiteit. During the afternoon there will be time to visit the poster sessions and discuss the research presented with the author.

Invited Speakers:
A number of speakers have been invited to give plenary presentations at the conference. The majority of the invited speakers are scheduled in sessions with a particular topic. Below you will find a list of these sessions with the invited speakers and some information about the session contents.

Besides the invited speakers within these sessions the organizing committee has invited six additional, plenary speakers.

  • Prof. Karl P. Hadeler (Tuebingen University, Germany): Competition, Variability, and Exclusion: Elimination of some and survival for many.
  • Prof. Dr. Bruce R. Levin (Emory University, USA): Mathematical models of the within and between host population biology of antibiotic treatment and resistance
  • Prof. Dr. Lila Kari (The University of Western Ontario, Canada): DNA computing in vitro and in vivo
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Sigmund (University of Vienna, Austria): Reciprocal altruism, direct and indirect
  • Prof. Dr. Bela Novak (Technical University Budapest, Hungary): Modelling the cell division cycle
  • Prof. Dr. Eshel Ben-Jacob (Tel-Aviv University, Israel): Bacterial wisdom and the challenge of antibiotic resistance
  • The closing lecture of the conference will be a distinguished lecture by the first Okubo Prize laureate. This prize is an initiative of the Society of Mathematical Biology, together with the Japanese Association for Mathematical Biology to honor the memory of Professor Okubo.

Day Sessions

  1. Non-Linear Population Dynamics
    M. Kirkilonis (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) M.P. Boer (Centre for Biometry Wageningen (DLO), The Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    D. Rand (University of Warwick, United Kingdom))
    H.L. Smith (Arizona State University, USA)


    • Mathematical population dynamics is one of the oldest disciplines of theoretical biology, and has become a major subject in the study of ecological and other related problems. Different biological situations are described by a wide range of models, mathematically formulated as non-linear dynamical systems. Solutions of such systems show a rich variety of behaviour hinting at the possible complexity of biological interaction between individuals, populations and their environment.

  2. Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
    M. Kretzschmar (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands)
    J.A.P. Heesterbeek (Centre for Biometry Wageningen (DLO), The Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    R.M. Anderson (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)
    K. Dietz (Tuebingen University, Germany)


    • This session focuses on the mathematical modelling of the spread of infectious diseases in human and animal populations. In particular, we invite talks dealing with the effects of contact patterns, stochastic phenomena, multiple hosts and evolutionary aspects of infectious diseases.
  3. Sequencing, Folding and Molecular Structure
    J.J.M. Riethoven (European Bioinformatics Institute, United Kingdom)
    F.H.D. van Batenburg (Leiden University, the Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    M.S. Waterman (University of Southern California, USA)
    P.G. Higgs (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)


    • Focusing on the more theoretical and mathematical issues and advances in this exciting field of bioinformatics, this one-day session will include topics on DNA fragment assembly, sequence/protein comparison, sequence analysis, secondary and tertiary structure (prediction) of macro- molecules such as RNA, DNA and proteins, sequence analysis, and gene prediction.

  4. Evolution, Game Theory and Adaptive Dynamics
    F.J.Weissing (Groningen University, The Netherlands)
    C.G.F. de Kovel (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    J.A.J. Metz (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
    (To Be Confirmed) S.C. Stearns (University of Basel, Switzerland)


    • The last three decades have revolutionized the way we think about evolution at various levels of organisation. New theoretical ideas on topics as molecular evolution, genetic conflicts, frequency- and density-dependent selection, sexual selection, spatial interactions, or non-equilibrium dynamics have played a major role in this process. Still there are major challenges as, for example, the integration of genetic and phenotypic approaches to natural selection, or the incorporation of developmental genetics into evolutionary theory. Several of these topics will be addressed in this session. We will also consider the empirical relevance of present-day models and discuss whether new modelling approaches are required to improve the testability of evolutionary theories.

  5. Computational Neuroscience
    J. van Pelt (Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, The Netherlands)
    A. van Ooyen (Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, The Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    D. Willshaw (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
    (To Be Confirmed) T. Sejnowski (The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA)


    • Understanding the brain in health and disease is perhaps the greatest challenge for science in the next century. Because the brain is an extremely complex and organised system from the molecular up to the behavioral level, this goal can not be achieved without modelling and computational approaches. This Session aims at emphasizing this role of Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation in Neuroscience. Participants are invited to present progress in understanding the structure, function and development the brain.

  6. Immunology and Within-Host Dynamics of Pathogens
    R. Mehr (Princeton University, USA)
    R.J. de Boer (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands)

    Invited speakers:
    L.A. Segel (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
    T.B. Kepler (North Carolina State University, USA)


    • The immune system is a typical example of a complex system having many feedback interactions. Our intuition for understanding the functioning of the immune system is therefore markedly sharpened by studying mathematical models. These models involve regulatory networks, competition, and evolution. Recent mathematical work on the within-host dynamics of viruses like HIV, HBV, and HCV have had great impact on our understanding of such infections.

Afternoon Sessions:

  1. Individual-Based Population Dynamics
    S.A.L.M. Kooijman (Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands)


    • We like to welcome contributions that highlight:
      • problems that relate individual dynamics to population performance mass and energy conservation at the population level
      • relationships between structured and unstructured population dynamics (effects of aggregation, simplification)
      • analyze structured population dynamics in terms of bifurcation analysis and transient behaviour
      • interactions between (structured) populations (food chains, food webs)

  2. Gene Networks
    D. Thieffry (University of Brussels, Belgium)
    L. Glass (McGill University, Canada)


    • Structure and Dynamics of Gene Networks: As molecular data about specific regulatory mechanisms of gene expression are rapidly accumulating, there is an increasing need for integrative and formal tools. This session aims to review the different theoretical approaches dealing with the dynamical analysis of gene networks. It will cover the analysis of specific functional modules, as well as methodologies addressing gene networks at the level of whole organisms. It will encompass some of the tools to derive the dynamical behaviour resulting from specific network structures, but also attempts to infer regulatory architectures from temporal and/or spatial data of gene expression.

  3. Pattern Formation and Morphogenesis
    P.K. Maini (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)


    • Recently, many advances have been made in understanding pattern formation in certain chemical and biological systems, and in the derivation of macroscopic models from observations at the microscopic level. This session will focus on the modelling and analysis of pattern formation in these areas.

  4. Education in Mathematical Biology
    J.R. Jungck (Beloit College, USA)
    Abstract: Not available

  5. Parasites and Diseases in Wildlife
    A. Pugliese (University of Trento, Italy)


    • This session aims at developing a common thread through different biological systems (micro- and macro-parasites; single or multi-host) and different modelling approaches. Topics will range from parasite interactions within hosts, through classical host-parasite systems, up to parasites' effect on communities.

  6. Metabolic Control Networks
    Organiser: H. Westerhoff (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


    • The living cell is one of the most complex objects studied by the natural sciences and mathematics. To a great extent this complexity derives the great many processes that occur in parallel, in a highly coordinated manner. Most of these processes lead to steady states, but others give rise to stationary oscillations, or even more complex patterns in space and time. The networks that are responsible for these dynamic processes are structurally adaptable, as in a neural network. Intracellular 'compartments' are crowded with macromolecules. As a consequence of all this, functional processes of living cells are not controlled by a single 'rate-limiting' step in the corresponding metabolic pathway. Rather, control tends to be distributed over various levels of intracellular organisation, including metabolism, signal transduction, gene expression, and time, reflecting adaptation of the cell to earlier challenges. Only intensive mathematical modelling in conjunction with experiments entering the living cell, can make the living cell, and therewith the essence of life, understood. It will be the challenge of the next century to intensify the application of mathematics to cellular biochemistry. In this symposium, the most recent developments in theory and biomathematics concerning the living cell as a complex object, will be highlighted.

  7. Whole Heart Modelling
    S.A. Panfilov (University of Utrecht, the Netherlands)


    • This section will be devoted to major problems of mathematical modelling in cardiac electrophysiology. We are planing to discuss questions related to development of anatomically accurate models of the heart and human torso and questions on the best models for cardiac tissue. We also encourage participation of researchers interested in mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and in development of new methods for fighting these diseases.

  8. Metapopulation Dynamics
    J. Verboom (Institute for Forestry and Nature Research (IBN-DLO), The Netherlands)


    • Metapopulation models have been derived and analyzed for gaining insight into the dynamics of fragmented populations. The issue is still of interest, because of the ongoing destruction and fragmentation of habitat, and the hypothetical extinction vortex that may lead to extinction of many plant and animal species worldwide (also referred to as the extinction debt).

  9. Toxicology
    J.I. Freijer (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands)
    M.J. Zeilmaker (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands)


    • This session on Toxicology focuses on the development of models of the toxic working mechanism of chemicals and radiation. The main emphasis is on the translation of model concepts into mathematical/computer models and the parameterisation and application of the latter.

  10. Particle Based Modelling
    J. Kaandorp (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
    A.M. de Roos (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


    • Particle based techniques (for example cellular automata,lattice gases, lattice Boltzmann method) are being applied in biological models at the molecular, complex, cel, individual, population and ecosystem level. This session will focus on the application and analysis of models that use any of these methods.

  11. Networks, Cellular Signalling and Biological Rhythms
    R. Heinrich (Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany)


    • This session focuses on the theoretical elucidation of the regulatory and dynamical properties of metabolic networks and of pathways of extracellular and intracellular signaling, as based on their stoichiometric and kinetic properties. Mathematical models concerning the whole variety of cellular mechanisms for energy transfer, phosphoryl transfer etc., for the action of different messengers, and for signaling via cell surface receptors or gap junctions are invited for presentation. Different modes of dynamic behaviour, such as amplification, oscillations, synchronization, transitions and multistationarity will be of interest. Attention is payed to the confrontation with experimental data. Besides the results of simulating specific systems new methods for the modelling of these types of nonlinear dynamic systems may be presented.

  12. Classification Methodology
    (To be confirmed) T. Koski (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)


    • Important classification problems in biology and medicine include taxonomy and clinical diagnostics. The recent availability of DNA sequence data has had a great impact on the mathematical research in taxonomy and this is a field in rapid progress. This session will focus on recent developments and new approaches.

  13. Miscellaneous
    • There will certainly be scientists willing to present interesting work at the conference that do not fit into one of the above sessions. The organising committee will evaluate the abstract submitted in this category separately and if possible organise a suitable way to include the presentations in the conference program.

Other Program Parts:

On Tuesday, June 29, the organising committee invites the conference participants to a welcoming reception. This reception will be held at the Vrije Universiteit. The reception does not include dinner.

On Wednesday, June 30, the annual meeting of the ESMTB will be held. This meeting will take place in the evening at the Vrije Universiteit.

Also on Wednesday, June 30, the Annual Meeting of the Members of SMB will be held at 6 p.m. at a location yet to be determined.

On Thursday, July 1, the conference dinner will take place in the historic city of Volendam. Participants will enjoy fine food in the Spaanders Restaurant.


Registration fees include admission to all sessions, a program and abstract book, coffee, tea and admission to the welcoming reception. Registration is possible through our web-site. You can find the instructions on the TMBM99 web-site (no longer available - outdated)

Important Addresses:

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