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International Conference on Mathematical Biology and

Annual Meeting of The Society for Mathematical Biology,

July 27-30, 2009

University of British Columbia, Vancouver



SI17:00 pm - 8:30 pm, July 27
Organizer Robert Smith?
University of Ottawa
Title NIMBIOS Student/Postdoc Career Session
Abstract This forum is intended to provide information on long-term career options in mathematical biology: in industrial settings, government agencies, and academia. The process of finding a job is complex and often mysterious to students and postdocs, often seeming to involve luck or random factors. However, many of the steps involved in searching for jobs, applying, getting letters of reference, interviewing and negotiating are less mysterious than they might seem. This workshop will provide a safe space for students, postdocs and junior faculty to have the process deconstructed and questions answered. Particular emphasis will be placed on the requirements for positions in mathematical biology, which differ significantly from positions in more traditional departments, such as mathematics. Students will discover resources for where to search for jobs, where to find jobs outside mathematics departments, how to streamline the application process, how to deal with referees who may be problematic, interview tips and negotiation for the best deal once an offer has been made.

Particular issues arise for students in the relatively new field of mathematical biology: there are a great many opportunities outside mathematics departments, but these are not widely known. Many scientists in the health and epidemiology fields have stated that if they could have any resource whatsoever, they'd have more biomathematicians; however, they don't know how to attract them. Part of the aim of this workshop is to expand students' horizons, in order to meet this demand.

This session is sponsored by NIMBios, the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis based at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Thanks to their generous support, refreshments will be provided.


  • 7:00-7:05 Refreshments served; Introduction and Welcome

  • 7:05-7:20 Working at NIH: a theorist's perspective.
    Vipul Periwal, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health.

  • 7:20-7:35 Perspectives on math biology careers in industry.
    Laura Potter, Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc.

  • 7:35-8:15 Getting a tenure-track job.
    Robert Smith?, University of Ottawa.

  • 8:15-8.30 Time for further discussions

The audience will be restricted to students, postdocs and junior faculty. This workshop is intended to be a "safe space", where students should feel free to ask questions without fear of having their supervisors, or potential employers, in the room.

Anyone interested in advertising a position may leave printed material in the room before the sessions, or may speak to the organizer.

LocationWoodward 3