After a $20,000 award from Rice's Creative Ventures Conference and Workshop Development Fund, the quantitative biology Summer School (qbSS) is one step closer in its 2018 relocation to Rice University.
Quantitative biology (q-bio) is an emerging interdisciplinary field, described as "research that uses quantitative approaches and technologies to analyze and integrate biological systems, construct and model engineered life systems, and gain a deeper understanding of the life sciences." As this discipline began to take shape about a decade ago, there were no degree programs to prepare students for careers in the field. The qbSS was launched in 2007 to provide students access to a community of innovators in computational and experimental biology to fill this gap.
The qbSS is widely recognized as one of the world's best educational programs in quantitative modeling of biological processes. The program will last two weeks and include ten one-hour research seminars, ten 90-minute general lectures, 30 hours of in-depth breakout discussions, chalk talks and computer lab demonstrations, eight career-focused panel discussions, 20 student oral presentations; two poster sessions; 20+ hours of mentored project work, and formal and informal networking.
The qbSS has previously been held at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and Colorado State University. The Creative Ventures funding will provide some 40 percent of needed support to host the 2018 conference at Rice. Remaining funds are being sought from the National Science Foundation, private and corporate foundations, and private contributions. Marek Kimmel
, professor of statistics at Rice, is the principal investigator (PI), with John Dobelman
, professor in the practice, as co-PI.
Rice University will host the q-bio conference
June 25-29, 2018, and the goal is to have the two-week qbSS precede the conference. Rice's hosting of these two events will bring well-deserved international attention to the outstanding faculty, students and facilities at Rice, and to its leadership in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and scholarship. The Cancer Dynamics track of qbSS which was started by Kimmel in 2013 may become a test-field for future initiatives of this kind at Rice. Collaborations between Rice researchers and the Texas Medical Center, with its leadership in basic biological and biomedical sciences, make Rice the perfect location for these events.
Rice developed the Creative Venture Funds to meet the multiple needs of its faculty. Each year, Rice allocates over one million dollars to support its faculty in new and creative work. The Conference and Workshop Development Fund fosters the development of conferences and workshops that enhance the reputation and quality of scholarship across the university.