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Welcome to NIMBioS!

Our mission is to foster the growth of transdisciplinary approaches within mathematics and biology

We are based at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but our mission is to support research and researchers across the globe. Building on our history starting out an NSF Synthesis Center we are now operating as an independent Institute. We work to foster the collaborative and intellectual space that allows researchers, educators, students, and policy makers to come together and succeed at creative, ambitious, transdisciplinary efforts that each of us would struggle to accomplish on our own. We help researchers in mathematical biology to bring their spark of insight to fruition as a grant proposal, educational program, or new collaboration.
Here are some of the services we already offer, but we're constantly expanding. Keep checking back here often...

NIMBioS is buzzing with activity and excitement as we shift into this next phase of our existence and we want to hear from you!
How can NIMBioS improve your life as a member of the mathematical biology community? Contact Us

Our History and Future!

Initially established in 2008 with an award from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis continues to bring together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to find creative solutions to today's complex biological problems. The NIMBioS process and its results have united the forces of diverse academic communities, transforming the landscape of scientific research and education.
Read more about our History of Success
Read more about our Future and what we are doing now »

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This truly was one of the best interdisciplinary workshops on sustainability that I have been to. Quote image.

Eli Fenichel, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, on the DySoC/NIMBioS Investigative Workshop Extending the Theory of Sustainability

Highlights and News

  • We recently held a 2-day virtual Tasting Menu of Quantitative Modeling for Researchers in the Life and Earth Sciences for people curious about what quantitative models do and how they might use them in their research.
    It was such a success, we're planning to offer it again in 2023! Stay tuned and check back here soon for details.
  • Quantitative Biosciences at the University of Tennessee. Learn about opportunities for graduate study in the quantitative biosciences at UT. One of the world's largest collections of faculty in quantitative bioscience are located in a variety of departments and research labs across campus. Numerous graduate courses are regularly offered, and support through research and training assistantships is offered.

Past NIMBioS Webinars

DySoC/NIMBioS Spring 2021 Webinars on Human Origins and Cultural Evolution

DySoC and NIMBioS present a series of open webinars on "Human Origins and Cultural Evolution, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Darwin's The Descent of Man." Read more »

DySoC/NIMBioS Fall 2020 Webinars on Cultural Evolution. Speakers included lead designers of five online learning modules that are available on the DySoC website. Playlist of recorded videos

NIMBioS Webinars in the Time of Covid-19 focus on topics at the interface of mathematics and biology. Playlist of recorded videos

NIMBioS/GAMES Outreach Webinars. NIMBioS cooperated with the Girls Achieving in Mathematics, Engineering, Science (GAMES) program to host a series of virtual events. Playlist of recorded videos

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Watch recorded webinars online

Icon image. Grant Support Office Hours  

Whether you are working on your initial project ideas, narrowing down a funding source, writing your proposal, or revising, we can help you.

Schedule a Zoom meeting using this link, and we can discuss your grant support needs.

Icon image. Now at NIMBioS  

 We're gradually ramping back up from COVID-related pauses and we will always prioritize the safety of our community.

Check back here for online programs, seminars, and summer/outdoors plans coming for 2023!

Icon image. Recent NIMBioS Publications
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The Earth has humans, so why don't our climate models?
Mathematical biology education: Changes, communities, connections, and challenges
Changing the nature of quantitative biology education: Data science as a driver
Host density and habitat structure influence host contact rates and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans transmission
Temporal patterns of dispersal-induced synchronization in population dynamics
Allocating resources for land protection using continuous optimization: biodiversity conservation in the United States
Space, density and extra-pair matings have opposing impacts on male and female reproductive success
Development of the BioCalculus Assessment (BCA)
Community college instructors' perceptions of constraints and affordances related to teaching quantitative biology skills and concepts
Pathogens and mutualists as joint drivers of host species coexistence and turnover: implications for plant competition and succession
Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity
A highly invasive chimeric ranavirus can decimate tadpole populations rapidly through multiple transmission pathways
Modeling the daily rhythm of human pain processing in the dorsal horn
Beyond the black box: promoting mathematical collaborations for elucidating interactions in soil ecology
Metrics of Lidar-derived 3D vegetation structure reveal contrasting effects of horizontal and vertical forest heterogeneity on bird species richness
Evaluating combinations of temporally aggregated Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 for land cover mapping with Google Earth Engine
Regulation of reproductive processes with Dynamic Energy Budgets
Niche estimation above and below the species level
Rootstocks shape the rhizobiome: Rhizosphere and endosphere bacterial communities in the grafted tomato system
Should I shoot or should I go? Simple rules for prey selection in multi-species hunting systems: Dietary thresholds to manage hunting
Predicting impacts of chemicals from organisms to ecosystem service delivery: A case study of endocrine disruptor effects on trout
Modeling the macrophage-anthrax spore interaction: Implications for early host-pathogen interactions
Inflammation and disease: Modelling and modulation of the inflammatory response to alleviate critical illness
Frequency-dependent feedback and plant community coexistence
Incorporating sub-organismal processes into dynamic energy budget models for ecological risk assessment
A guide to calculating habitat‐quality metrics to inform conservation of highly mobile species
Next‐generation conservation genetics and biodiversity monitoring
Correlation between E. coli levels and the presence of foodborne pathogens in surface irrigation water: Establishment of a sampling program
Examining conservation compliance with randomized response technique analyses
Cutaneous leishmaniasis in Peru using a vector‐host model: Backward bifurcation and sensitivity analysis
Linking models of human behavior and climate alters projected climate change
Split probabilities and species tree inference under the multispecies coalescent model
Electromechanical vortex filaments during cardiac fibrillation
Predators in the plant-soil feedback loop: Aboveground plant-associated predators may alter the outcome of plant-soil interactions
Computational and mathematical methods in cardiovascular diseases
The treatment of uncertainty and learning in the economics of natural resource and environmental management
Multivariate climate change may favor large herbivore body size in food webs
Handling overheads: Optimal multi-method invasive species control
Cultural multilevel selection suggests neither large or small cooperative agreements are likely to solve climate change without changing the game
What are the environmental determinants of phenotypic selection? A meta-analysis of experimental studies
Catch bonds at T cell interfaces: Impact of surface reorganization and membrane fluctuations
Climate seasonality, fire and global patterns of tree cover
A risk assessment framework for seed degeneration: Informing an integrated seed health strategy for vegetatively propagated crops. Phytopathology
The aliens among us: How invasive species are transforming the planet – and ourselves
Modeling virus coinfection to inform management of maize lethal necrosis in Kenya
Collective action and the evolution of social norm internalization
Defining and classifying migratory habitats as sources and sinks: The migratory pathway approach
Beyond nutrients: A meta-analysis of the diverse effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plants and soils
Predicting human olfactory perception from chemical features of odor molecules
Selecting the best stable isotope mixing model to estimate grizzly bear diets in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
The evolution of parasitic and mutualistic plant-virus symbioses through transmission-virulence trade-offs
Constraints on the Fst-heterozygosity outlier approach
Transit times and mean ages for nonautonomous and autonomous compartmental systems
The evolution of extreme cooperation via shared dysphoric experiences
The next frontier of plant-soil feedback research: unraveling context dependence across biotic and abiotic gradients
Inferring biomarkers for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection and disease progression in cattle using experimental data
Precipitation drives global variation on natural selection
Contrasting post-settlement selection results in many-to-one mapping of high performance phenotypes in the Hawaiian waterfall-climbing goby Sicyopterus stimpsoni
Optimization and control of agent-based models in biology: A perspective
Best practices for virtual participation in meetings: Experiences from synthesis centers
Genome-wide selection components analysis in a fish with male pregnancy
Mate quality and the temporal dynamics of breeding in a sex-role-reversed pipefish, S. typhle
Invasive plant alters community and ecosystem dynamics by promoting native predators
Maximizing diversity in biology and beyond
skeleSim: an extensible, general framework for population genetic simulation in R
The coevolution of economic institutions and sustainable consumption via cultural group selection
Phylogenetics and biogeography of the dung beetle genus Onthophagus inferred from mitochondrial genomes
Finding the genomic basis of local adaptation: Pitfalls, practical solutions, and future directions
Advancing microbial sciences by individual-based modelling
Public control of rational and unpredictable epidemics
Tail use improves soft substrate performance in models of early vertebrate land locomotors
Ranavirus could facilitate local extinction of rare amphibian species
Mathematical modeling of early cellular innate and adaptive immune responses to ischemia/reperfusion injury and solid organ allotransplantation
Renal medullary and urinary oxygen tension during cardiopulmonary bypass in the rat
Quantifying limits on replication of death, and quiescence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice
Home-field advantage? evidence of local adaptation among plants, soil, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi through meta-analysis
A management-oriented framework for selecting metrics used to assess habitat- and path-specific quality in spatially structured populations
The costs of avoiding environmental impacts from shale gas surface infrastructure
MycoDB, a global database of plant response to mycorrhizal fungi
Self-harm to preferentially harm the pathogens within: Non-specific stressors in innate immunity
Root-disentangling canid howls across multiple species and subspecies: Structure in a complex communication
Re-examination of the relationship between marine virus and microbial cell abundances
Can immune response mechanisms explain the fecal shedding patterns of cattle infected with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis?
Dominance of the suppressed: Power-law size structure in tropical forests
Leading indicators of mosquito-borne disease elimination
The evolution of antievolution policies after Kitzmiller v. Dover.
Assessing local population vulnerability with branching process models: an application to wind energy development
Broad CTL response in early HIV infection drives multiple concurrent CTL escapes
Predicting the role of IL-10 in the regulation of the adaptive immune responses in Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infections using mathematical models
Comparative limb bone loading in the humerus and femur of the tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum
Leadership in mammalian societies: Emergence, distribution, power, and payoff
Social feedback and the emergence of rank in animal society
Interspecific contact and competition may affect the strength and direction of disease-diversity relationships for directly transmitted microparasites
Genetic variation, simplicity and evolutionary constraints for function-valued traits
Genetic and ecological data reveal species boundaries between viviparous and oviparous lizard lineages
Bayesian analysis of a morphological supermatrix sheds light on controversial fossil hominin relationships
Loci under selection during multiple range expansions of an invasive plant are mostly population‐specific, but patterns are associated with climate
Mainstreaming early warning systems in development and planning processes: Multilevel implementation of Sendai Framework in Indus and Sahel
Effects of light, nutrients, and food chain length on trophic efficiencies in simple stoichiometric aquatic food chain models
Decreased water limitation under elevated CO2 amplifies potential for forest carbon sinks
A multitrophic model to quantify the effects of marine viruses on microbial food webs and ecosystem processes
Topological effects of network structure on long-term social network dynamics in a wild mammal
Ex situ seed collections will benefit from considering spatial sampling design and species' reproductive biology
A theory of human warfare: group-structured cultural selection
Exploring the benefits of antibody immune response in HIV-1 infection using a discrete model
Using ABC and microsatellite data to detect multiple introductions of invasive species from a single source
Shared genetic diversity across the global invasive range of the monk parakeet suggests a common restricted geographic origin and the possibility of convergent selection
Stochastic dynamics of a warmer Great Barrier Reef
Estimating vocal repertoire size is like collecting coupons: A theoretical framework with heterogeneity in signal abundance
Chloroplast haplotypes suggest preglacial differentiation and separate postglacial migration paths for the threatened North American forest tree Juglans cinerea L.
A multitrophic model to quantify the effects of marine viruses on microbial food webs and ecosystem processes
Acoustic sequences in non-human animals: a tutorial review and prospectus
Internet and Free Press Are Associated with Reduced Lags in Global Outbreak Reporting
Non-timber forest product harvest does not affect the genetic diversity of a tropical tree despite negative effects on population fitness
A comparison of elasticities of viral levels to specific immune response mechanisms in human immunodeficiency virus infection
Model selection in historical biogeography reveals that founder-event speciation is a crucial process in island clades
The socioecology of Monk Parakeets: Insights into parrot social complexity
Conservation paleobiology needs phylogenetic methods
Quantifying the impact of decay in bed-net efficacy on malaria transmission
Model selection in historical biogeography reveals that found-event speciation is a crucial process in island clades
Impacts of an interdisciplinary research center on participant publication and collaboration patterns: A case study of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
A theoretical mathematical assessment of the effectiveness of coartemether in the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection
Male hyraxes increase song complexity and duration in the presence of alert individuals
A theoretical mathematical assessment of the effectiveness of coartemether in the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection
Comparative evaluation of potential indicators and temporal sampling protocols for monitoring genetic erosion
Optimal sampling of seeds from plant populations for ex-situ conservation of genetic biodiversity…
Persistent oscillations and backward bifurcation in a malaria model with varying human and mosquito populations…
Ecological effects and human use of commercial mosquito insecticides in aquatic communities
The elemental composition of virus particles: implications for marine biogeochemical cycles
Investigating the performance of AIC in selecting phylogenetic models
Effects of animal movement strategies and costs on the distribution of active subsidies across simple landscapes
An overview of the utility of population simulation software in molecular ecology
Spatial genetic structure in 21 populations of butternut, a temperate forest tree (Juglans cinerea L.), is correlated to spatial arrangement, habitat, and land-use history
Competition for antigen between Th1 and Th2 responses determines the timing of the immune response switch during Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection in ruminants
Three keys to the radiation of angiosperms into freezing environments
Effects of subsidy quality on reciprocal subsidies: How leaf litter species changes frog biomass
An image processing based paradigm for the extraction of tonal sounds in cetacean communications
Water stress strengthens mutualism among ants, trees, and scale insects
Behavioral refuges and predator-prey coexistence
Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science
The encoding of individual identity in dolphin signature whistles: how much information is needed?
Entropy rate as a measure of animal vocal complexity
Evaluation of the "Iceberg Phenomenon" in Johne's Disease through mathematical modeling
Evaluating the significance of paleophylogeographic species distribution models in reconstructing quaternary range-shifts of Nearctic Chelonians
Carryover effects in amphibians: How much complexity is needed to predict survival?
Demographic network and multi-season occupancy modeling of Rana sylvatica reveal spatial and temporal patterns of connectivity
War, space, and the evolution of Old World complex societies
Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients
Modeling the forest
Latent tuberculosis: Models, computational efforts and the pathogen's regulatory mechanisms during dormancy
Cellular and population plasticity of helper CD4(+) T cell responses
Defoliaton and bark harvesting affect life history traits of a tropical tree
Homosexuality via canalized sexual development: A testing protocol for a new epigenetic model
Asymmetric selection and the evolution of extraordinary defences. Nature Communications
Analysis and simulation of propagule dispersal and salinity intrusion from storm surge on the movement of a marsh–mangrove ecotone in south Florida
Evolution of mate choice and the so called magic traits in ecological speciation
Demographic network and multi-season occupancy modeling of Rana sylvatica reveal spatial and temporal patterns of population connectivity and persistence
The ability of landowners and their cooperatives to leverage payments greater than opportunity costs from conservation contract
Structural balance in the social networks of a wild mammal
Spatial subsidies, trophic state, and community structure: Examining the effects of leaf litter input on ponds
The impact of bed-net use on malaria prevalence
Understanding TB latency using computational and dynamic modelling procedures
Species tree inference by the STAR method and its generalizations
Understanding TB latency using computational and dynamic modelling procedures
Global mapping of infectious disease
Optimal control in individual-based models: Implications from aggregated methods
Behavioural changes and the adaptive diversification of pigeons and doves
On the role of screening and educational campaigns on controlling HCV in correctional institutions
Fatal or harmless: Extreme bistability induced by sterilizing, sexually transmitted pathogens
Identifying Transmission Cycles at the Human-Animal Interface: The role of animal reservoirs in maintaining Gambiense human African trypanosomiasis
Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development
Mathematical modeling of viral zoonoses in wildlife
Stochastic models for competing species with a shared pathogen
Understanding TB latency using computational and dynamic modelling procedures
Incentives in the family II: Behavioral dynamics and the evolution of non-costly signaling
Communicating science through music: A case study from mathematics and biology
Multiple merger genes genealogies in two species: Monophyly, paraphyly, and polyphyly for two examples of Lambda coalescents
Modeling stabilizing selection: Expanding the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model of adaptive evolution
Coevolution in multidimensional trait space favors escape from parasites and pathogens
Human origins and the transition from promiscuity to pair-bonding
On the evolutionary origins of the egalitarian syndrome
Using optimal control theory to identify network structures that foster synchrony
How facilitation may interfere with ecological speciation
Genetic evidence for hybridization in red oaks (Quercus sect. Lobatae, Fagaceae)
Beyond Lyme: Aeitology of tick-borne human diseases with emphasis on the south-eastern United States
How a hurricane disturbance influences extreme CO2 fluxes and variance in a tropical forest
Optimal control of integrodifference equations with growth-harvesting-dispersal order
Data-driven models for regional coral-reef dynamics

Icon image. Recent NIMBioS Awards
More Awards »

TRIPODS+X:VIS: Data Science Pathways for a Vibrant TRIPODS Commons at Scale
Dynamic models for basic theory and applications in cultural evolution
Enhancing quantitative and data science education for graduate students in biomedical science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Development of Peer Networks by Producing Videos Highlighting the Careers of Women in Math
Integrating Structural Theories of Revolution with Evolutionary Models to Predict Societal Resilience and (In)stability
Modeling Risk Perception, Vector-borne Diseases and Environmental Integrity: Understanding Impacts of Policy Decisions for Vector Control
Optimal Spatial Targeting of Payments for Forest-based Ecosystem Services Under Climate and Market Risks
Building Capacity for the DOI Southeast Climate Science Center to Co-produce Actionable Science Focused on Global Change Impacts to Natural Resources
Predicting the Evolution of Vector-borne Disease Dynamics in a Changing World
ABR: Melding and Mathematical Theoretical Models of Stress
NRT INFEWS: Computational data science to advance research at the energy-environment nexus
Radford HHMI Inclusive Excellence Project
The 2017 Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Biology & Mathematics
Increasing STEM Education Retention with Intrusive Advising and Learning (I-SERIAL)
High-performance Computing for Agent-based Modeling of Between-group Conflicts (2 awards)
Gains from Synchronizing Top-down and Bottom-up Conservation Activities within Agricultural Landscapes
Collaborative Research: NSF INCLUDES: South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM (SEAPD-STEM)
External Evaluation of the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis Project
Biology Undergraduate Mathematics Anxiety and Attitudes Project (BioMAAP)
DCL: NSF INCLUDES Conference on Multi-Scale Evaluation in STEM Education
Modeling the Emergence of Leaders in Self-organizing Social Networks
Mathematics Support for Spatio-temporal Population and Population Dynamics Modeling and Simulation (4 awards)
Forestry Multicultural Scholar Program (MSP)
Modeling Zika Control Effectiveness with Feedback in Risk Perception and Associated Demand Across Scales of Intervention

NIMBioS Communications

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NIMBioS Seminars

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Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, NIMBioS in-person seminars have been replaced by a series of webinars. Most seminars were streamed live and recorded for later viewing.
Watch previously recorded seminars online.

Notice on Coronavirus

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, we are evaluating all activities supported by NIMBioS to be consistent with health guidelines and the plans established by the University of Tennessee. NIMBioS is committed to promoting the safety and well-being of all our participants and event attendees. We expect most if not all NIMBioS activities will involve collaborating virtually rather than physically at NIMBioS and we will work with those involved in activities we support to assist in making these virtual interactions as effective as possible. We encourage individuals to review the recommendations and best practices from credible sources including the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the University of Tennessee. Any questions about how we might support an activity already accepted, or a potential new activity, should be addressed to NIMBioS Director Nina Fefferman (

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
©2008-2021 National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. All rights reserved.