Biologists Need to Clean Up Their Math

I ran across this post from 2004 on jobs in Mathematical Biology.  In it they remind us that the onus is not only on we math-folk to bridge the gap between the two fields.  Biologists need to start cleaning up their math:

But the onus isn’t all on mathematicians. Biologists could use an infusion of mathematics as well, says Iya Khalil, vice president of R&D at Gene Network Sciences Inc. in Ithaca, New York. Biologists frequently run experiments that generate large amounts of data, but the usefulness of the data will likely depend on the design of the experiment. “In the realm of high-throughput experiments, often times [mathematicians] figure out that if the biologist had done the experiment in a particular way, it would have improved the statistics of the analysis by an order of magnitude,” she says. By then it’s too late.

“Biologists have to pick up the mathematics,” agrees Laubenbacher. “If you want to use your data to make a mathematical model, then you need to take the modeling method into account when you design new experiments. Different modeling methods will require different kinds of data.”


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