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Methods Enzymol. 2009;454:305-21. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(08)03812-3.

Desegregating undergraduate mathematics and biology--interdisciplinary instruction with emphasis on ongoing biomedical research.

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1
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia, USA.

Abstract

The remarkable advances in the field of biology in the last decade, specifically in the areas of biochemistry, genetics, genomics, proteomics, and systems biology, have demonstrated how critically important mathematical models and methods are in addressing questions of vital importance for these disciplines. There is little doubt that the need for utilizing and developing mathematical methods for biology research will only grow in the future. The rapidly increasing demand for scientists with appropriate interdisciplinary skills and knowledge, however, is not being reflected in the way undergraduate mathematics and biology courses are structured and taught in most colleges and universities nationwide. While a number of institutions have stepped forward and addressed this need by creating and offering interdisciplinary courses at the juncture of mathematics and biology, there are still many others at which there is little, if any, interdisciplinary interaction between the curricula. This chapter describes an interdisciplinary course and a textbook in mathematical biology developed collaboratively by faculty from Sweet Briar College and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. The course and textbook are designed to provide a bridge between the mathematical and biological sciences at the lower undergraduate level. The course is developed for and is being taught in a liberal arts setting at Sweet Briar College, Virginia, but some of the advanced modules are used in a course at the University of Virginia for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students. The individual modules are relatively independent and can be used as stand-alone projects in conventional mathematics and biology courses. Except for the introductory material, the course and textbook topics are based on current biomedical research.

PMID:
19216932
DOI:
10.1016/S0076-6879(08)03812-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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