NIMBioS News

NIMBioS Study Analyzes Animal Social Networks

A new study finds that animals use the same level of sophistication as humans in judging social configurations. The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis study brings a new understanding of the structure of animal social networks. The researchers analyzed the relationships between three individuals by analyzing longstanding behavioral data.

NIMBioS Study Puts Supreme Court Under the Microscope

The current Supreme Court may be criticized for its lack of diversity on the bench, but according to a study conducted by UT law professor Ben Barton, the Court is actually more diverse overall today than ever in history. The study, published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, borrows statistical methods from ecology to reveal a more precise picture of diversity.

NIMBioS Study: Avoiding a Cartography Catastrophe

Today’s global mapping of infectious diseases is considerably unreliable and may do little to inform the control of potential outbreaks, according to a study produced at a NIMBioS workshop held on UT’s campus. Social media could help. Using crowdsourcing techniques to gather data, such as analyzing the content and frequency of Twitter messages about disease, predicted outbreaks sooner than traditional disease surveillance methods.

Epigenetics Study Receiving International Media Attention

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics. The research is getting media attention worldwide.

Study Finds Epigenetics May Underlie Homosexuality

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at UT say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics—how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches. A working group at NIMBioS used mathematical modeling that found the transmission of sex-specific epi-marks may signal homosexuality.

NIMBioS Hires Associate Director for Diversity Enhancement

Ernest Brothers

NIMBioS welcomes Ernest Brothers as associate director for diversity Enhancement, a newly created leadership role at NIMBioS. Brothers is an assistant dean in the Graduate School, overseeing the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship.

UT, NIMBioS Study Finds Bullies Squelched When Bystanders Intervene


A new national anti-bullying ad campaign urges parents to teach their kids to speak up if they witness bullying. One UT researcher has found that in humans’ evolutionary past, at least, helping the victim of a bully hastened our species’ movement toward a more egalitarian society.

UT to Host Math Biology Conference; Topics to Include Babies, Bees, and Bieber


Breast milk, bumble bees, and even “Bieber Fever” will undergo mathematical analyses at the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology, July 25–28, at the Knoxville Convention Center. About 400 scientists and undergraduate students from twenty-three countries and thirty-five US states are expected to attend the annual meeting.