New director for IGTC in Math Biology

  • Date: 07/27/2011
The International Graduate Training Centre (IGTC) in Mathematical Biology is undergoing a significant change this summer. From August 1, 2011, Professor Dan Coombs of the University of British Columbia will be taking over the position of director from Professor Mark Lewis of the University of Alberta.


Professor Lewis has directed this specialized graduate program since its beginnings in 2007. During his tenure the IGTC has flourished, attracting outstanding local and international graduate students, as well as world-class visitors and speakers.


"PIMS would like to recognize Mark Lewis' extraordinary vision and leadership in establishing the IGTC in Math Biology, which is unique in Canada," commented PIMS Director Alejandro Adem.


Incoming Director Dan Coombs is looking forward to his new role;


“I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing the excellent work of Mark Lewis as Director of the IGTC. Under Mark's leadership, the training centre has been extremely successful in fostering student research (with over 50 papers published since 2008, including several in the top scientific journals) and career development (centre alumni are moving into excellent positions in academia and elsewhere). The activities of the centre provide an intellectual support network for mathematical biology across BC and Alberta, bringing students and faculty together and supporting our efforts to recruit the best possible group of trainees.


“In the short term I will be working on student recruitment and planning the annual research summit for 2012. A more serious challenge for the future is to seek expanded and diversified funding sources for the program, to allow us to increase student funding and compete for the most exceptional graduate students.”


Not only will there be a leadership change, but also a change in administration, Mark Lewis comments, “The outgoing IGTC Educational Coordinator, Maryna Yaskina, has been invaluable in building and structuring the program. She developed the IGTC from a vision of how we can better educate math biology students to a smoothly operating educational program. I am grateful for her help with this program and she will be greatly missed.”


Oriana Bella, current PIMS Program and Events coordinator will be taking on the IGTC administrative duties.


Daniel Coombs received his BSc from the University of Sheffield in 1995 and his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2001. He subsequently held a postdoctoral position in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He joined the faculty at the University of British Columbia in 2003, where he has been an associate professor since 2007. His research is primarily in the areas of theoretical immunology, cell-scale biophysics and within-host infectious disease dynamics. Dr. Coombs was recently the recipient of the 2010 PIMS/CAIMS Early Career Award in Applied Mathematics.