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When vaccines are imperfect: What math can tell us about their effects on disease propagation

nugget_iconPhiladelphia, PA—The control of certain childhood diseases is difficult, despite high vaccination coverage in many countries. One of the possible reasons for this is “imperfect vaccines,” that is, vaccines that fail either due to “leakiness,” lack of effectiveness on certain individuals in a population, or shorter duration of potency.

In a paper publishing today in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Felicia Magpantay, Maria Riolo, Matthieu Domenech de Celles, Aaron King, and Pejman Rohani use a mathematical model to determine the consequences of vaccine failure and resulting disease dynamics.

“We examined the effects of individual-level vaccine failure on the propagation of a disease through a population,” says author Felicia Magpantay. “Specifically, we took into account different ways in which vaccines may fail. We distinguished between vaccine-induced immunity that is ‘leaky’, whereby vaccination reduces the probability of infection upon exposure but does not eliminate it; ‘all-or-nothing’, which leads to perfect protection in some individuals, but none in others; and ‘waning’, which reflects transient protection—or some combination of all three.” Read the rest of this entry »

Army Research Lab to Host Open House for New Open Campus Initiative

Via Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has announced an Open House on December 9-10 for its Open Campus Initiative launched earlier this year.  The Open House will allow the external research community to engage with ARL scientists and familiarize themselves with the Open Campus Initiative.  ARL created the Open Campus Initiative earlier this year to increase its collaborations with universities and other external research stakeholders.  Collaborations will center around staff exchanges between campus and ARL scientists around ARL research areas, including materials, computational and information sciences, weapons and vehicle platforms, and human sciences.  In addition to working with researchers at ARL’s main campus in Maryland, Open Campus participants will work at ARL facilities in North Carolina, Florida, and New Mexico.  While the initiative will initially focus on staff exchanges, this venture represents an opportunity for universities to increase their relationships with ARL which could lead to joint research funding down the road.

Computational Sciences is a primary research area and the open house may therefore be of interest to many members of the mathematical sciences community. Read the rest of this entry »

Employment Opportunity for Program Directors in the Division of Mathematical Sciences

From the NSF: 

The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS), within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, National Science Foundation (NSF), announces a nationwide search for mathematical sciences professionals to fill Program Director positions. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin on November 18, 2014 and will continue until selections are made.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency’s overall mission. To discharge this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

For full details, view the announcement on the NSF site.

UC- Berkeley graduate student Jasmine Nirody on mechanistic models of bacterial movement

How do bacteria move? Can we turn to math and physics for answers? Jasmine Nirody, a graduate student at UC-Berkeley, has been fascinated with how organisms move since she was a little kid. Now she is using that passion to study how tiny organisms like bacteria move despite the large frictional and viscous forces acting against them in their environments. Using principles from applied mathematics and theoretical biophysics, Nirody is studying how flagellar forces help bacteria move via mechanistic models of the bacterial flagellar motor.

Watch the video to learn more!

University of Manchester SIAM chapter participates in PostGraduate Open Day

Sophia Coban and Chris Mower of the University of Manchester SIAM Student Chapter write about their chapter’s involvement in PostGraduate Open Day at the university:

 The PostGraduate Open Day is an event held in the School of Mathematics once a year for the prospective students to meet the current postgraduates, and get a feel of studying or researching at The University of Manchester. This meant an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and our community to the prospective students — not just for the Manchester Chapter, but for SIAM in general!

The Chapter was represented by Chris Mower (Vice President), Mario Berljafa (Treasurer) and Zehui Jin (Secretary) at the open day on the 22nd of October. We had a great day talking to prospective students and current PhD researchers at the University. It was pleasing to hear that many of the current MSc students at the University had already signed up to SIAM and the Chapter!

Arthur Lander on modeling normal versus rampant cell growth

How do the basics of what goes on in our tissues during normal development give us a better understanding of what happens when things go awry in the malignant disease state? In this clip, Arthur Lander of the University of California, Irvine, speaks about how biological systems use control and regulation to achieve or maintain desired outcomes in growth and development. Controlled growth is not only essential for biological development, but also plays an important role in preventing the kinds of out-of-control growth we see in certain cancers.  Lander’s group builds mathematical models that mimic real tissues in order to understand normal growth control. Using such models, his lab is determining how morphogenesis is achieved by turning growth on and off in certain desired locations via regulated feedback between growing cells and those that produce tissues.

Watch the video to learn more!

Computing Community Consortium workshop on Uncertainty in Computation

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) “facilitates the development of a bold, multi-themed vision for computing research”, normally through its series workshops, each of which leads to a white paper. The CCC was formed by the Computing Research Association (CRA), of which SIAM is a member, through a cooperative agreement between the CRA and the National Science Foundation. The reports from the workshop are intended to inform the computing community and the NSF of research opportunities and challenges.

The workshop on Uncertainty in Computation attempted to define grand research challenges in understanding and communicating uncertainty inherent in computational processes. According to the workshop website, the presentations from the workshop can be found via links on the workshop agenda. A full workshop report will be produced soon.

SIAM, in cooperation with the American Statistical Association (ASA), holds a biennial conference on Uncertainty Quantification. SIAM’s Activity Group on Uncertainty Quantification, along with ASA, organizes this conference.

Benchmarks of Realistic Scientific Application Performance of Large-Scale Computing Systems

From the NSF: 

The NSF is interested in supporting activities by the NSF Cyberinfrastructure community in the analysis of existing benchmarks, and in the development of new benchmarks, that measure real-world performance and effectiveness of large-scale computing systems for science and engineering discovery.

NSF welcomes benchmarking proposals in the following general areas: (1) the analysis, evaluation, and assessment of the effectiveness of one or more existing benchmarks used in industry and academe today; (2) the development (including algorithm development and prototype implementation) and experimental use of one or more new benchmarks; or (3) workshops and community engagement events to advance discussion, dissemination, and community building around benchmarks.  Proposals focused in areas 1 and 2 must include some work in area 3.  Industry engagement is encouraged.

Proposals should be submitted via this Program Description NSF 15-7685 on or before February 2, 2015.  The requested starting date should be no earlier than May 1, 2015.

Please view full details on the NSF site here.

IBM Herman Goldstine Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mathematical Sciences

From IBM:

The Mathematical Sciences Department of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center is inviting applications for its 2015-2016 Herman Goldstine Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship for research in mathematical and computer sciences. Areas of active research in the department include: algorithms, complex systems, data mining, dynamical systems, high-performance computing, inverse problems, numerical analysis, optimization, probability theory, statistics, simulation and operations management.

Candidates must have received a Ph.D. after September 2010, or should expect to receive one before the fellowship commences in the second half of 2015 (usually in September).  Up to two fellowships will be awarded with a stipend between $95,000 and $120,000 (depending on experience). Applications must be received between November 10, 2014 and January 16, 2015.

Complete details are available on the IBM website at: http://www.research.ibm.com/goldstine/

University of Manchester SIAM chapter participates in PostGraduate Open Day

Sophia Coban and Chris Mower of the University of Manchester SIAM Student Chapter write about their chapter’s involvement in PostGraduate Open Day at the university:
Machester_PG_day The PostGraduate Open Day is an event held in the School of Mathematics once a year for the prospective students to meet the current postgraduates, and get a feel of studying or researching at The University of Manchester. This meant an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and our community to the prospective students — not just for the Manchester Chapter, but for SIAM in general!

The Chapter was represented by Chris Mower (Vice President), Mario Berljafa (Treasurer) and Zehui Jin (Secretary) at the open day on the 22nd of October. We had a great day talking to prospective students and current PhD researchers at the University. It was pleasing to hear that many of the current MSc students at the University had already signed up to SIAM and the Chapter!