Can animal population modelling help predict and track the flu season? Or could next-gen medical sequencing help protect endangered species?
This week, a diverse group of researchers from around Australia are gathering in Melbourne to share ideas between researchers across mathematics, statistics, ecology, conservation and epidemiology.
The Mathematics of Biological Systems Management Symposium (MOBSYM), held at The University of Melbourne, aims to bring together researchers who work on modelling and managing biological systems to discuss the latest research and upcoming challenges.
Conference organiser Dr Chris Baker from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions said while these disciplines are often separated, they have much in common.
“For example, we’re coming into the flu season, so how can we figure out how bad this season is going to be and how it is going to spread?” Dr Baker said.
“Cases of the flu are very hard to measure because it relies on people going to a GP or hospitals for cases to be recorded, and media hype actually plays strongly into the equation.
“But a new technique like eDNA, used for tracking say animal populations from analysing water, soil, or even air, could be used to accurately and efficiently track how many cases of the flu there actually are.
“Or another example, is say applying next-generation medical sequencing methods to conservation problems, which conservation scientists generally wouldn’t have resources to do.”
The symposium, run on the 5th and 6th of April, 2018 will focus on four key themes;
- Fitting complex dynamic models to data
- Multi-dimensional optimisation of spatial and stochastic systems
- Multi-objective decision-making and decision science
- Interpretability of outputs and making an impact
“By working together, we can strive to accelerate progress,” said Dr Baker.
“I’m really looking forward to the big ideas that come out of this symposium.”