2022 Spring Conference, April 23, 2022
Due to the pandemic the Spring Conference (the 26thth Annual Spring Conference) was a remote conference.
First Saturday Speaker: Maureece Levin
Dating the Human Past: Where Archaeology Meets Mathematics
Archaeologists care a great deal about the age of materials. Yet, when archaeologists study a site, ecofact, or artifact, how can they measure its age? This presentation addresses the ways that archaeologists employ mathematical concepts, particularly exponential functions and statistics, to chronologically situate archaeological materials and hence better understand the long trajectory of human societies. Throughout, it explores ways that mathematics educators can bring life to concepts using archaeological examples, as well as how archaeology speaks to the importance of math for everyone.
Maureece Levin is Lecturer in Anthropology at Valdosta State University in Georgia. A broadly trained anthropological archaeologist and archaeobotanist, she teaches anthropology and sociology. She has interests in historical ecology, food production systems, traditional ecological knowledge, and island environments. In her research, she examines human landscape use and agricultural systems over long periods of time in the Pacific Islands, East Asia, and globally. She is keenly interested in crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries to build high impact teaching and research practices.
Second Saturday Speaker: Javier Arsuaga
Tracking the evolution of coronaviruses: applications to SARS-CoV2
Coronaviruses cause a wide variety of human respiratory diseases including SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. The genome of coronaviruses consists of a long single stranded RNA molecule that encodes for several structural proteins including the Spike (S) protein that decorates the surface of the virus in a crown-like fashion and that is the main player in the recognition of the human cells. The evolution of these viruses is driven by a relatively high point-mutation and recombination rates. In this talk I will describe how we combine stochastic methods, topologically data analysis, biophysical and experimental methods to track the evolution of coronaviruses, and in particular of SARS-CoV-2.
UC Davis Professors Mariel Vazquez and Javier Arsuaga are co-directors of the Topological Molecular Biology Laboratory at UC Davis. They both hold positions in the mathematics department and in microbiology and human genetics (Mariel) and in molecular and cellular biology (Javier). Both received their PhD in 2000 under the direction of Prof. De Witt Sumners Florida State University) and held postdoctoral positions at UC Berkeley. Their research focuses on the development of mathematical models to study molecular mechanisms.