By McGill Reporter Staff
At its most recent annual meeting, the Society for Mathematical Biology appointed 18 people to its inaugural Fellows Program. McGill professors Leon Glass and Michael Mackey, both in the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Physiology, were among the researchers recognized by the scientific and scholarly community for their distinguished contributions to the interface between the mathematical and life sciences. The Society held its 2017 meeting at the University of Utah from July 17-20.
Prof. Glass is widely known for his 1960 discovery of patterns, now known as “Glass patterns,” that clarified our understanding of how the human brain processes visual stimuli. His research applies nonlinear dynamics to the understanding of vision, dynamics in genetic networks, cardiac arrhythmias, and dynamical disease. In particular he has worked on problems associated with respiratory rhythmogenesis and the effects of periodic forcing on respiration, dynamics of tremor and motor control, dynamics of cardiac arrhythmia, visual perception, and dynamics in gene networks. Prof. Glass is the Isadore Rosenfeld Chair in Cardiology. His work has earned him accolades that include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Jacques-Rousseau Prize for Disciplinary Research from the Association Francophone pour le Savoir (ACFAS),and the Society for Mathematical Biology’s Arthur T. Winfree Prize.
Prof. Mackey is the Joseph Morley Drake Professor Emeritus in Physiology. His research works to achieve reasonable concordance between biologically realistic mathematical models (of physiological processes at the cellular and molecular level) and laboratory/clinical data. His recent work focuses on the periodic hematological diseases (such as cyclical neutropenia, cyclical thrombocytopenia, and periodic leukemia) and control of the tryptophan and lactose operons. In 2013, an international conference honoring Prof. Mackey’s work was held in Lyon, France, to mark the occasion of his 70th birthday.
Glass and Mackey have also collaborated on research. In a 1977 article in the journal Science, they introduced an equation, now called the “Mackey-Glass equation,” that illuminates how simple control mechanisms can lead to complex bodily rhythms such as the fluctuations in the number of circulating blood cells.
The Society for Mathematical Biology was founded in 1973 to promote the development and international dissemination of research and education at the interface between the mathematical and life sciences. Professors Glass and Mackey are both former presidents of the SMB, having served from 1997-1999 and 2009-2011, respectively.
The full list of 2017 SMB Fellows is online.