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Mathematics and Biology: a Roundtrip in the Light of Suns and Stars
organizers: Stephan van Gils, Mats Gyllenberg, Hans Heesterbeek, Yuri Kuznetsov, Hans
To formulate robust, well-posed and consistent mathematical models that capture the essence
of relevant biological problems, and to derive biological insight from their analysis, is the true
challenge in the field of mathematical biology. This workshop aimed to
• bring together mathematicians working in the field of mathematical biology;
• discuss the modeling of biological processes leading to interesting mathematics;
• further insight in the underlying biological processes;
• discuss the role of numerical simulation within this context.
The workshop attracted 56 participants and was filled to capacity. The participants came from
12 different countries, and four different continents, with several participants from the USA
and Japan. The most tangible outcome of this conference is the special issue of the Journal
of Mathematical Biology that is devoted to Diekmann's 65th birthday: Volume 66, Issue 4-5,
March 2013. This issue was presented by the chief editor Matz Gyllenberg at the opening of
the conference, at which occasion he also honored Odo Diekmann with the membership of the
Societas Scientiarium Fennica.
Although we cannot mention specific new insights on the level of computing, it has been
realized that the MatCont interface can be used to load SBML models to study biological models
from a bifurcation point of view. User comments were made on the usage of MatCont that will
be incorporated in the next version.
Several talks discussed the modeling of biological mechanisms beyond data driven modeling.
It became clear that modeling of epidemiology and immunology are not yet done on the
same footing. This has been marked as an area where much progress can be made in the
During the conference it became clear that some problems in population migration theory
are strongly related to certain neural field models. This relationship will be exploited in future
work where techniques developed for population dynamics will be carried over to mathematical
neuroscience. This is just one example where connections between different fields were
The atmosphere during this week was stimulating and inspiring. The special occasion of the
workshop only contributed to the scientific merits. Bringing together a number of very active
and successful mathematician from the network of Odo Diekmann, paved the way for many
younger scientists to discuss their work with specialists. There was ample room for interaction
and several people have mentioned the start of new cooperations based on the discussion
during the conference. This was precisely one of the aims of this conference.
As always, the staff from the Lorentz Center was most helpful to give all participants an