National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis Names New Director

Colleen-JonssonThe National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at UT will have new leadership beginning in January.

Colleen Jonsson, an expert in infectious disease dynamics and molecular virology, has been named the new NIMBioS director. She will begin January 2015.

Jonsson will succeed Louis J. Gross, who is continuing on as a professor of mathematics and ecology and evolutionary biology at UT, a position he has held concurrently with the NIMBioS directorship since 2008.

Jonsson has previously been active at NIMBioS as both an advisory board member and co-organizer of the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop on Modeling Wildlife and Virus Zoonoses.

She comes to NIMBioS from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, where she has directed the Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases since 2008.

Jonsson, whose research spans thirty years, is also a professor of microbiology in Louisville’ Department of Microbiology and Immunology. While at NIMBioS, she will also hold the position of professor of microbiology at UT. Her research areas include the ecology of hantaviruses in rodents and other viral zoonoses in wildlife populations.

Jonsson has led other interdisciplinary research initiatives, including the New Mexico Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network and the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at the Southern Research Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Birmingham, Alabama.

NIMBioS is a scientific research center that supports cutting-edge cross-disciplinary research at the interface of mathematics and biology. NIMBioS offers a range of fellowships for visiting scientists and educators each year. Since its beginnings in 2008,

NIMBioS has hosted more than 4,700 visitors from fifty-four countries, and NIMBioS activities have led to the publication of more than 370 journal articles. NIMBioS is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthesis Center supported through NSF’s Biological Sciences Directorate via a cooperative agreement with UT totaling more than $35 million over ten years.

“NIMBioS has a proven track record of success in making substantial contributions to cross-disciplinary research and training efforts at the interface of mathematics and biology. I am excited to build and lead new multidisciplinary scientific directions and maintain already successful existing ones at NIMBioS,” Jonsson said.

“We are delighted that Dr. Colleen Jonsson will be joining us as the next NIMBioS Director,” said Taylor Eighmy, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “She brings a wealth of experience and has had marvelous success with her research and her leadership of transdisciplinary centers. She and her colleagues will be able to build on strong foundations as they look to the future. I trust that NIMBioS will further its national prominence as an NSF center focused on discovery in math and biological synthesis. On behalf of the entire community, we extend our gratitude to Dr. Lou Gross, the founding director of NIMBioS, for his leadership in establishing NIMBioS and securing the NSF renewal.”

To learn more about research and training opportunities at NIMBioS, visit www.nimbios.org.