Blogging community of computational and mathematical oncologists

A few weeks ago, David Basanta reached out to me (and many other members of the mathematical oncology community) about building a community blog together. This week, to coincide with the Society for Mathematical Biology meeting in Montreal, we launched the blog. In keeping with the community focus, we have an editorial board of 8 people that includes (in addition to David and me): Christina Curtis, Elana Fertig, Stacey Finley, Jakob Nikolas Kather, Jacob G. Scott, and Jeffrey West. The theme is computational and mathematical oncology, but we welcome contributions from all nearby disciplines.

The behind the scenes discussion building up to this launch was one of the motivators for my post on twitter vs blogs and science advertising versus discussion. And as you might expect, dear reader, it was important to me that this new community blog wouldn’t be just about science outreach and advertising of completed work. For me — and I think many of the editors — it is important that the blog is a place for science engagement and for developing new ideas in the open. A way to peel back the covers that hide how science is done and break the silos that inhibit a collaborative and cooperative atmosphere. A way to not only speak at the public or other scientists, but also an opportunity to listen.

For me, the blog is a challenge to the community. A challenge to engage in more flexible, interactive, and inclusive development of new ideas than is possible with traditional journals. While also allowing for a deeper, more long-form and structured discussion than is possible with twitter. If you’ve ever written a detailed research email, long discussion on Slack, or been part of an exciting journal club, lab meeting, or seminar, you know the amount of useful discussion that is foundational to science but that seldom appears in public. My hope is that we can make these discussions more public and more beneficial to the whole community.

Before pushing for the project, David made sure that he knew the lay of the land. He assembled a list of the existing blogs on computational and mathematical oncology. In our welcome post, I made sure to highlight a few of the examples of our community members developing new ideas, sharing tools and techniques, and pushing beyond outreach and advertising. But since we wanted the welcome post to be short, there was not the opportunity for a more thorough survey of our community.

In this post, I want to provide a more detailed — although never complete nor exhaustive — snapshot of the blogging community of computational and mathematical oncologists. At least the part of it that I am familiar with. If I missed you then please let me know. This is exactly what the comments on this post are for: expanding our community.

Here are the blogs alphabetically by primary author. As a disclaimer, I was not familiar with some of these blogs before David’s spreadsheet introduced them to me, and so my snapshots are incomplete. For each blog, I have tried to highlight a few posts that I’ve found particularly interesting. In some cases, these posts have spawned discussions on twitter or here on TheEGG or other blogs, and so I occasionally highlight those responses as well.:

Prior to the new computational and mathematical oncology blog launching, the Theory, Evolution, and Games Group encouraged posts from members of the mathematical oncology community and includes contributions on oncology from: Vincent Cannataro on dark selection from spatial cytokine signaling networks; Jill Gallaher on diversity working together: cancer, immune system, and microbiome; Philip Gerlee and Philipp Altrock ask is cancer really a game?; David Robert Grimes on oxygen fueling dark selection in the bone marrow; Dan Nichol on how evolutionary non-commutativity suggests novel treatment strategies; Rob Noble on cancer, bad luck, and a pair of paradoxes; Robert Vander Velde on cancer metabolism and voluntary public goods games, and ratcheting and the Gillespie algorithm for dark selection; and Matthew Wicker on identifying therapy targets & evolutionary potentials in ovarian cancer.

Although in the future, I will be directing mathonco writers and posting my own mathematical oncology contributions on the new blog. If you want to pitch a post idea for the new blog, please free to email me or chat with me in person if you’re in the Oxford area.

Finally, are there any blogs that I missed? Or any particularly exciting posts that I should have highlighted? Please let me know.

Maybe I should make a blogroll.


About Artem Kaznatcheev
From the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University and Department of Translational Hematology & Oncology Research at Cleveland Clinic, I marvel at the world through algorithmic lenses. My mind is drawn to evolutionary dynamics, theoretical computer science, mathematical oncology, computational learning theory, and philosophy of science. Previously I was at the Department of Integrated Mathematical Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center, and the School of Computer Science and Department of Psychology at McGill University. In a past life, I worried about quantum queries at the Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Combinatorics & Optimization at University of Waterloo and as a visitor to the Centre for Quantum Technologies at National University of Singapore. Meander with me on Google+ and Twitter.

2 Responses to Blogging community of computational and mathematical oncologists

  1. Thanks for including me. Does this mean I have to start writing again?

    • Yes. I think this means you are contractually obliged to blog again.

      But in all seriousness, it would be great to have you blogging again. Either on your blog or on the new comp&math onco community blog.

      I think people would be especially interested in hearing more about your ‘all biology is computational biology’ perspective. For example, I have some objections based on algorithmic biology not being computational biology that I’ve been meaning to write about. In general, I think your article and follow up posts are great conversation starters. Something like ‘all oncology is computational oncology’ focusing the arguments from your paper to cancer research would be a nice contribution to the new blog!

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