Tridane, Arizona State University Summary of Proposal: This project is for support for US participants, including professors and students - to a workshop on ?Mathematical Biology: Analysis and Control- Casablanca, Morocco June 20-24, 2011.? The Moroccan organizer is Dr. Noura Yousfi of the Hassan II-Mohammedia-Casablanca University. The focus of the workshop is on disease modeling for endemic and emerging diseases in Africa. Included in the plan are plenary lectures, poster sessions, lectures as well as tutorials for African students, and round tables. A major objective is to facilitate and encourage collaborations between researchers from African countries, the US and other countries.

Intellectual Merit: Disease modeling is necessary for understanding and developing control strategies for epidemic diseases. The workshop seeks to create future international collaborations, data sharing, and possible development of international models for educational training in the field of disease modeling. The workshop will expose US researchers to mathematical biology in Africa, promote interactions and collaborations, and train students and postdocs. There will be discussion sessions with African researchers on problems specific to Africa. The workshop's steering committee includes a significant representation from the host country as well as from Kenya, Botswana, Uganda and Tanzania. The topic on disease models and control fits well with Africa, where many problems related to disease emerge. The workshop would facilitate the development of collaborations between junior researchers in the US, with expertise in the modeling of disease, and researchers residing in Africa.

Broader impacts: The workshop will have a good impact on junior researcher and students in Morocco and nearby countries. It also benefits the participating US scholars and junior researchers as they will become familiar with some real disease problems occurring in Africa, which can increase the interaction of US researchers and North African colleagues, and make positive impact on promoting scientific research in Africa and also in US (for Africa related problems.) Three of plenary speakers are female, and three of them are minority. The organizers plan to post lectures online, and publish proceedings on a good journal in math biology. Many of the main research advances in this field have come from US, Canadian, and European universities, and that new collaborations between African and non-African researchers would enable data sharing and idea sharing between a broader international community. Mentoring of junior researchers and students by African and non-African senior researchers is also expected.

Project Report

The Casablanca International Workshop on Mathematical Biology was held in Casablanca, Morocco from June 20-24, 2011, and was hosted at the University of Hassan II. The workshop was organized by Dr. Amina Eladdadi from The College of Saint Rose, NY, Dr. Abdessamad Tridane from Arizona State University, and Prof. Noura Yousfi from Faculty of Sciences Ben Msik, Casablanca, Morocco. This five-day meeting aimed at: (1) bringing together international, US and African experts in the field of mathematical biology to exchange ideas, (2) advancing the state of research in the field of mathematical modeling of infectious and in host diseases, and (3) providing a platform for the participants to explore opportunities for collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, as well as across countries and continent. The Casablanca workshop was the largest meeting to date in the field of Mathematical Biology to be held in Morocco. It brought together a combined total of 300 US, African and international leading experts and junior scientists in applied mathematics, as well as experimentalists and systems biologists working in various fields of applied mathematics. All participants have a strong interest in the application of mathematical and computational methods to disease modeling. A particular field of interest in Africa is the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases such HIV, Tuberculosis, Influenza, Malaria, Cholera and within-host diseases such as cancers. These diseases are highly dynamic and adaptive to their changing environments, which require persistent research from both biologists and mathematicians. The participants at the workshop examined the applications of various mathematical and computational tools (such as optimal control, hybrid system, network modeling and cellular automata) to address some of the pressing questions about diseases in Africa, and help in finding possible treatments and control strategy of these diseases. The scientific program included a mixture of plenary and workshop lectures by leading experts in mathematical biology, contributed talks, a panel discussion on mathematical biology in Africa, and a graduate students poster session. A total of eighty talks were presented. They covered a wide range of topics in mathematical biology including modeling of emerging diseases in Africa, cancer modeling, calcium oscillation, population dynamics, signaling networks, and control theory, among others. The contributed talks and the poster session provided an opportunity for the young researchers to showcase their research, and more importantly, for the locals and the African students to interact directly with international scientists. One particular success of the meeting was the large participation of junior researchers, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows from the US, Morocco, Africa, and Europe. These interactions were dynamic, and provided an opportunity for mentoring activities between the US and African junior and senior scientists in mathematical modeling and disease control. In fact, these interactions resulted in three collaborative projects between the organizers and other US researchers and some graduate students from Morocco, Senegal and Ivory Cost. These projects include the modeling of HIV, Influenza and HBV, studying the optimization of vaccination in case of shortage of resources, and using cellular automata to model pandemics in Africa. This workshop had a far-reaching and broader impact in a way that it had contributed to stimulating scientific progress in the field of Mathematical Biology, particularly disease modeling for endemic and emerging diseases in Africa. Scientists from around the world gathered to exchange ideas and share their research. The meeting has also contributed to the training and education of the US and international participants. Many experimentalist and clinicians were exposed to mathematical models of diseases for the first time. Similarly, new mathematicians were motivated by the lectures and tutorials and have entered the field of disease modeling. The workshop had broadened the participation of women and underrepresented groups. A total of 27 women, two of whom were plenary speakers, participated in the meeting, and we also had a large participation from African American, Hispanic graduate and post doc students. The program structure of the workshop was clearly beneficial for stimulating interdisciplinary dialog and providing participants with an understanding of the mathematical methods in disease dynamics. The organizers got very positive feedback from the participants, who expressed interest in a similar meeting in the future. Interested readers can check out the workshop website: The findings in connection with this workshop are still ongoing. A couple of research papers are still a work in progress as a result of the collaboration between the organizers, US researchers and African students. Currently, the organizers are in the process of finalizing two special issues: Discrete and Continuous Dynamics Systems (DCDS-B) special issue in cancer modeling, analysis and control, and the Mathematical Populations Studies, special issue on Mathematical Models of Disease Control. These issues will contain a combined total of 15-20 selected and fully refereed contributions dedicated to the proceedings of the workshop. These issues are expected to go into production by the end of 2012.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
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Osman Shinaishin
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Arizona State University
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