Propelled by the success of the sequencing of the human and many related genomes, molecular and cellular biology promise significant scientific breakthroughs in the near future. Mathematics (broadly defined) is positioned to play a major role in this effort, helping to discover the secrets of life by working collaboratively with bench biologists, chemists and physicists. The critical need, which has already begun, is the development of a quantitative body of theory for biology. This development of theory is expected to have the same impact on biology as it did on the sciences of physics, chemistry and engineering in the 20th century. This quantitative body of theory will be created by people with strong backgrounds in both biology and in the mathematical sciences. Because of its outstanding record of interdisciplinary research and training, the IMA is an ideal venue for this annual program at the interface between the mathematical sciences and biology.
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