|Biology and Mathematics Cross Education Divide|
|SciMed - Horizons|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Friday, 10 September 2010 14:00|
Bethesda, Md, USA. Biology is increasingly dependent on mathematics, while the latter discipline has drawn from the former for real world models to support new computational pathways. In fact, the emerging field of bioinformatics is a prime example of such sophisticated collaboration.
There are lessons to be drawn from prior experience on how to incorporate the benefits of collaboration into formal education. The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) now has published a special edition of their journal CBE—Life Sciences Education (CBE-LSE), which focuses on connections between and integration of the biological and mathematical sciences.
The adage that biology is for science students who don't do math is laid to rest forever. Bio-math or
"The national scientific and academic community has issued repeated clarion calls for revising college biology curricula such that mathematical and computational preparation for future life scientists reflects the tools and practices of science," explains Pat Marsteller of Emory University.
Marsteller directs the Center for Science Education and is a faculty member in the department of Biology at Emory. She acted as special issue co-editor with John Jungck of Beloit College.
"This issue celebrates progress on incorporating quantitative reasoning into biology courses and integrating biological exemplars into mathematics courses," Marsteller said.
The ASCB launched CBE-LSE in 2002 as Cell Biology Education—A Journal of Life Science Education, changing the journal's name in 2006 and sharpened the focus on life science education at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels.
A subsequent report in 2003 by the National Research Council (NRC), BIO2010, pointed out that genomics, bioinformatics, and quantitative biology of all kinds were already driving cutting-edge research in basic and clinical bioscience.
The pace has accelerated since that analysis to the point that some graduate departments are dedicated to the effort. The original report concluded that 21st century science students at all levels had to be prepared for a brave new interdisciplinary world.
In response to BIO2010, contributors to the CBE-LSE special issue offer "how to" advice and "best methods" analysis on bridging the traditionally wide gap between math and biology skills, especially for undergraduates.
FYIThe journal CBE—Life Sciences Education (CBE-LSE) is a free service, supported in part by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
|Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 20:49|