Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Columbus workshop and interactions with life scientists

Being a workshop on mathematical biology one of the issues we all face here is how to work with life scientists and thus one of the panel session yesterdays was precisely about that.

It seems that there are different kind of problems theoreticians might find when dealing with clinicians and experimentalists depending on a number of factors:
  • What kind of people are they? Are they 'math-skeptic'? do they have affinity towards theory?
  • Do you want them to share their expertise with you or do you want to influence the experiments they perform so they can be used in your theoretical model? The latter is significantly more difficult.
  • Do you work with biologists or with physicians? There is a real difference between the average PhD and the average MD that does some research on the side when it comes to understand the usefulness of theory.
Some tips where also offered by some participants on how to make finding and establishing collaborations. Mainly it helps to attend seminars from the life sciences departments, get yourself familiar with their stuff and get your face known to them so you don't come as a complete stranger.