Mathematician Julie Blackwood to Lecture on Diseases, Invasive Species, and Ecological Systems

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 28, 2020—Julie Blackwood, associate professor of mathematics at Williams College, will deliver a talk titled “Diseases, Invasive Species, and Other Ecological Systems: Insight from Mathematical Models.” The fourth of six talks in the college’s Faculty Lecture Series this semester, the lecture will take place on Thursday, March 5, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in Wege Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Schow Atrium. This event is free and open to the public.

Blackwood’s current research lies at the intersection of mathematics and ecology, in which she develops and analyzes mathematical models that describe population-level ecological processes. Her research spans a variety of ecological topics, including invasive insect management, disease ecology for both humans and wildlife, and coral reef conservation, and involves a multitude of academic fields, including physics, statistics, economics, and ecology. At the core of her interdisciplinary work lies two fundamental questions: what drives population or disease persistence, and what are the outcomes of management strategies?

At Williams, she teaches a variety of mathematics classes, from introductory courses to major requirements to applied topics. Her course topics have included multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and a tutorial on mathematical biology. Her research has been published in journals such as the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Letters in Biomathematics, and the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Blackwood received her B.S. in applied mathematics from Rochester Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of California, Davis. Before she joined the faculty at Williams, Blackwood was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Complex Systems in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The Faculty Lecture Series was founded in 1911 by Catherine Mariotti Pratt, the spouse of a faculty member who wanted to “relieve the tedium of long New England winters with an opportunity to hear Williams professors talk about issues that really mattered to them.” From these humble and lighthearted beginnings, the Faculty Lecture Series has grown to become an important form for tenured professors to share their latest research with the larger intellectual community of the college.

The Faculty Lecture Series is organized by the faculty members of the Lecture Committee.

The series will continue on March 12 with Matt Carter, professor of biology, who will discuss “The Food Network: How Your Brain Makes You Feel Full.”

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