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Biomathematics symposium to celebrate 10th anniversary at Illinois State

The Center for Collaborative Studies in Mathematical Biology: Intercollegiate Biomathematics Alliance (IBA) announced the International Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology Education and Research (affectionately known as BEER) will be October 6-8, at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.

“The B.E.E.R. symposium will be anything but normal, but it is fitting to celebrate our 10th year back at Illinois State where it all began,” said symposium co-founder and IBA Executive Director Olcay Akman, a professor of biomathematics at Illinois State.

An annual gathering of researchers, educators, and students, BEER provides scholars the chance to expand the boundaries of the new, integrated field of biomathematics. This years’ event, dubbed BEER-X in celebration of a decade of the symposium, will feature keynote speaker Professor of Mathematics Lisette de Pillis of Harvey Mudd College, as well as presentations from field pioneers and emerging scholars. Symposium proceedings are published annually through the Letters in Biomathematics journal.

Registration is available on the BEER-X website, where a full schedule will be forthcoming. Early-bird registration ended August 8.

Exploring the intersection of computer science, biology, and math, biomathematics is considered a revolutionary way to approach science. “We are at the forefront of a field that is catapulting onto the international stage,” said Akman. “And there is a camaraderie among those drawn to biomathematics. At BEER-X, we will celebrate both the advances in the field, and the connections of the people who drive it.”


Lisette de Pillis smiling

Lisette de Pillis

De Pillis is the chair of the Department of Mathematics and holds the Norman F. Sprague Chaired Professorship of Life Sciences at Harvey Mudd College. Her research includes mathematical modeling in the battle against cancer and HIV. Professor de Pillis’ multidisciplinary accomplishments are recognized internationally, and have been celebrated by the Argonne National Laboratory with the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Distinguished Scholar award, an honor that has been bestowed on scientists from several fields, and only once before to a mathematician.

Elsa Schaefer smiling

Elsa Schaefer

Lester Caudill smiling

Lester Caudill

Also speaking at the symposium will be Elsa Schaefer of Marymount University and Lester Caudill of the University of Richmond. Schaefer is a professor of mathematics whose research focuses on computational epidemiology, and in particular disease models for cholera and tick-borne diseases. She has published research in multiple journals and books, including the SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering. Caudill is an associate professor of mathematics. His research uses mathematical and computational models to simulate infection spread in hospital wards, with particular focus on the rise and spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens.

Along with three days of presenters, poster presentations, and the traditional mathematicians-vs.-biologists soccer match, BEER-X will feature the awarding of the Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Biomathematics and Ecology Scholarship and Teaching Prize from the editors of Spora: A Journal of Biomathematics. The IBA publishes the journal Letters in Biomathematics as well as the undergraduate-focused Spora.

For additional information about BEER-X, contact Akman at (309) 438-7980 or

The Center for Collaborative Studies in Mathematical Biology: Intercollegiate Biomathematics Alliance is a consortium created to promote research and education in biomathematics. Institutional members hail from universities across the United States and help sustain the scholarly activities by sharing resources. The IBA headquarters are housed at Illinois State University. Find more information on the IBA.