September 2000

Dear SMB member:

The biggest news to report is that this year's annual meeting in Salt Lake City was an unqualified success - as organizer, Mark Lewis deserves a large amount of credit for organizing a meeting that was successful on all fronts. The plenary lectures, which highlighted the program, were all outstanding and notable for their seamless integration of mathematics and biology. The large turnout of mathematical biologists at all levels, from graduate students through senior scientists, led to a wealth of exciting informal interactions. The workshop aimed at younger scientists that discussed career opportunities was another meeting highlight. A key component of the discussion at the board meeting was relationships with other societies with interests in mathematical biology, such as SIAM and various biological societies.

If you missed this year's meeting, next year's meeting may be even more exciting. The chief organizer, Alex Mogilner, is already working hard, and the meeting will be joint with the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology in Hilo, Hawaii. Details will be found elsewhere in this issue, but do begin to make plans to attend.

I would also like to thank those board members whose term has ended, Philip Maini and Denise Kirschner, and especially thank the outgoing past president, Leon Glass, for his help over the past year. Congratulations are also due to our incoming board members, Rob de Boer, Suzanne Lenhart, and Gerda de Vries, and our president-elect, Mark Lewis.

On the United States national funding scene there are several developments of extreme importance to our society. The mathematical sciences division within the National Science Foundation is looking for a scientist to serve as a program officer working in mathematical biology. The call for this individual represents both a commitment on the part of NSF towards research in this area and the number and strength of applications in this area. I would urge any qualified member of our society to pursue this exciting opportunity.

Additionally, NSF is actively seeking to support additional research in mathematical and quantitative biology. The recent 'dear colleague' letter (which I am certain will soon be available on the web through the NSF web site), which specifically calls for proposals in Quantitative Environmental and Integrative Biology, is just one of the first steps it appears that NSF will be taking. It is imperative that the members of society support these efforts in the strongest possible way. We should recognize these additional opportunities for support, and also provide feedback to NSF indicating the importance and value of this kind of support. Similarly, there are opportunities to voice our call for support of mathematical biology with other agencies.

Another recent effort, somewhat more specialized, was represented by the NSF sponsored workshop on Quantitative Environmental Biology recently held at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. This is a particularly exciting and challenging time for our society, as the importance of mathematical approaches throughout biology is becoming increasingly recognized at the same time that society is recognizing the importance of the challenging research questions throughout biology.

Yours sincerely,
Alan Hastings
President, Society for Mathematical Biology