The MathBio 4: SCALE symposium was held October 18-19, 2012, at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The two-day conference explored bioscience problems that are informed by a broader mathematical or computational treatment of scale to obtain a more complete understanding of the whole that often challenges intuition and expands across different fields of scientific inquiry.

The organization of multidimensional data using informatics, for example, lies at the interface of statistics, computer science, genomics and medicine. Outcomes of such transdisciplinary research links health outcomes with biomarkers of disease (e.g., serum or image markers), functional genomic assays of transcriptional, proteomic and metabolic states, and demographics (e.g., zip code, gender, race) to derive better approaches for the prevention and treatment of disease. Integrating electronic health records with multidimensional data sets brings us closer to personalized medicine, making it possible to deliver targeted, patient-specific therapy, while simultaneously allowing a systematic understanding of general aspects of phenotypes of disease and their biological and population health consequences.

Similarly, biological systems can be characterized at different scales of structure and hierarchical organization. For example, ecosystems can be as simple as individuals from one species or as complex as large multispecies populations that interact on different levels to generate emergent behavior that impacts the larger system, leading to surprisingly diverse and complex systems. In the biomedical field, structure-function relationships at the microscopic scale often drive dynamic macroscale processes, especially in hierarchical branching tree structures such as the lung airways.
 
MATHBIO4: SCALE
was organized by the Morgridge Institute for Research, and guided by a steering committee of faculty from UW–Madison, WID and the Morgridge Institute.