10 years of IMO
10 years ago the Integrated Mathematical Oncology department (IMO) was established at the Moffitt Cancer Center. It was the first of its kind. When we started we had only 3 faculty members (Bob Gatenby, Sandy Anderson and Kasia Rejniak) , one postdoc (your truly) and one inflatable colon.
it took some time but we started growing and collaborating with biologists at Moffitt (and elsewhere). Sandy thought we could have a massive impact (photographic evidence presented). I soon ceased to be the only postdoc and eventually ceased to be a postdoc. Nowadays they even let me supervise other people.
As a result, IMO is MUCH bigger today. Sadly the inflatable colon had to go, but we got a nice espresso machine instead. We also got physicists, ecologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, bioinformaticians, people doing machine learning and image analysis. We have people that work in all sorts of cancers, at all kinds of scales and working on projects that go from basic science to clinical trials driven by mathematical models.
Sandy even started a very successful IMO workshop that, every Autumn for a week, brings 5 teams of clinicians, biologists and math modelers (many of them from across the world) together to compete with each other for a $50K pilot grant. Heiko also started a very successful high school internship program that makes me feel older and stupider every year.
While not necessarily IMO-centered, the last 10 years also allowed me to find this lovely lady, Parmvir Bahia, that had the misfortune of marrying me. On the positive side for her, she also started an outreach and scicomm organization, Scientists Inc, that has counted on the help and support of many IMO members, showing that not only we want to do cool science, we also want everybody to know about it.
These, and others, are accomplishments that go beyond my rather optimistic expectations when we came here in 2008. Kudos to Sandy and the merry band of mathonco people that he has recruited to make all this possible. I have no idea of what is in store for the next 10 years but my expectations have been raised!