2020 Summer REU Program

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Photo of REU participants reviewing materials
June 8 - August 6, 2020
8:00AM - 5:00PM
Location
MBI Auditorium, Jennings Hall 355

Date Range
Add to Calendar 2020-06-08 08:00:00 2020-08-06 17:00:00 2020 Summer REU Program

MBI administers a multi-institution summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program in the mathematical biosciences each year. The objectives of the program are: (1) to introduce a diverse cohort of undergraduate students to the mathematical biosciences, broadly interpreted to include areas such as biostatistics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, in addition to biologically-inspired mathematical modeling; (2) to encourage students to pursue graduate study in the mathematical biosciences; and (3) to increase the number of students who enter the workforce with training in this field.

REU participants work on projects in areas such as molecular evolution, neuronal oscillatory patterning, cancer genetics, epidemics and vaccination strategies, and animal movement.  Participants work individually or in pairs under the guidance of expert mentors to make specific research contributions in these areas, often leading to a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations. The REU program incorporates various professional and research-skills development activities throughout the summer to help ensure the participants’ success in completing their summer project and to prepare them for graduate study or entering the workforce.

The program consists of three parts:

  • Mathematical Biosciences Bootcamp (June 8th - 12th, 2020) at MBI
    Participants are introduced to various areas of the mathematical biosciences via lectures, computer labs, and visits to biological labs on campus.
     
  • Mentored Research Experience (June 15th - July 31st, 2020) at the REU host sites
    Participants complete a mentored research project individually or in pairs at one of MBI's partner institutions. Participants also attend a weekly online seminar series and virtual all-program meeting.
     
  • Capstone Week (August 3th - 6th, 2020) at MBI
    Participants return to MBI for a wrap-up week featuring student talks and posters, keynote talks by prominent mathematical and biological scientists, and Q&A panels.
MBI Auditorium, Jennings Hall 355 Mathematical Biosciences Institute mbi-webmaster@osu.edu America/New_York public
Description

MBI administers a multi-institution summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program in the mathematical biosciences each year. The objectives of the program are: (1) to introduce a diverse cohort of undergraduate students to the mathematical biosciences, broadly interpreted to include areas such as biostatistics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, in addition to biologically-inspired mathematical modeling; (2) to encourage students to pursue graduate study in the mathematical biosciences; and (3) to increase the number of students who enter the workforce with training in this field.

REU participants work on projects in areas such as molecular evolution, neuronal oscillatory patterning, cancer genetics, epidemics and vaccination strategies, and animal movement.  Participants work individually or in pairs under the guidance of expert mentors to make specific research contributions in these areas, often leading to a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations. The REU program incorporates various professional and research-skills development activities throughout the summer to help ensure the participants’ success in completing their summer project and to prepare them for graduate study or entering the workforce.

The program consists of three parts:

  • Mathematical Biosciences Bootcamp (June 8th - 12th, 2020) at MBI
    Participants are introduced to various areas of the mathematical biosciences via lectures, computer labs, and visits to biological labs on campus.
     
  • Mentored Research Experience (June 15th - July 31st, 2020) at the REU host sites
    Participants complete a mentored research project individually or in pairs at one of MBI's partner institutions. Participants also attend a weekly online seminar series and virtual all-program meeting.
     
  • Capstone Week (August 3th - 6th, 2020) at MBI
    Participants return to MBI for a wrap-up week featuring student talks and posters, keynote talks by prominent mathematical and biological scientists, and Q&A panels.
Advanced
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The MBI Summer REU Program uses the REU Common Application system. To apply, register at www.nsfreu.org and select the MBI REU in the list of sites you wish to apply to. MBI is participating in the REU Common Reply Date, meaning that we will not require applicants to accept or decline an offer to participate until March 8 or later.

 

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Host Sites and Project Descriptions

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Title: Visualization and Digitization of Osteocyte Images and Simulations
Advisor: Dr. Jared Barber

In bone, force densities at the macroscale level get multiplied at least ten-fold by the time they reach cellular scales where these magnified forces cause osteocytes to react in ways that can promote or reverse bone growth.  The mechanisms that cause this force magnification to take place and the force localization on the osteocyte are still not well characterized.  We have begun developing multiscale computational models that will be calibrated with experiment in order to better understand osteocyte dynamics. These models approximate three-dimensional space using collections of rectangular prisms (rectilinear grids/lattices) sometimes and using tetrahedrons (finite element grids) at other times.

Increasing osteocyte insight relies on proper visualization of the solutions found on these grids.  In addition, proper calibration relies on taking experimental images and converting them into a format comparable with the computational simulations, which take place on the grids.  Using Mimics, Matlab, Gmsh, and other visualization software, the student will assist in these efforts by helping to develop tools that can be easily used to visualize simulations and convert experimental images into a format compatible with simulations.  While computer skills will be worthwhile, the project is highly geometric in nature and will utilize mathematical skills in this area.


Title: Role of Blood Flow in Glaucoma:  a Modeling Study
Advisor: Dr. Julia Arciero

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide and is characterized by progressive retinal ganglion cell death and irreversible vision loss.  Impaired blood flow and oxygenation of retinal tissue have been identified as important factors that may contribute to glaucoma.  This project involves the development of a mathematical model that predicts oxygen transport and blood flow regulation in a realistic heterogeneous description of the retinal microvasculature, yielding spatial predictions of oxygenation that can be used to identify regions of the retina most at risk of functional damage. Students will use Matlab and C code to simulate a model of the human retina to predict perfusion and oxygenation of retinal tissue.

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Project descriptions for this site will be added once they are available.

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Title: Mathematical Models for Intracellular Transport
Advisor: Dr. Chuan Xue

A biological cell is like a city, and it has an internal transportation system that connects different parts of the cell. Nearly all cellular functions rely on the active transport of various cargoes, including proteins and organelles, inside the cell. Microtubules are long, dynamic polymers that serve as highway tracks for intracellular transport. Kinesin and dynein are motor proteins that move cargoes back and forth along microtubules. Disruptions of intracellular transport in nerve cells can cause local swelling of the axon, similar to a traffic jam that we see in real life, leading to nerve cell degeneration in severe situations. These phenomena have been found in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In this project, we will use mathematical models to investigate how intracellular traffic is regulated under normal conditions and how intracellular traffic jams arise under abnormal conditions. Sponsored in part by NSF CAREER Award 1553637.

 

Additional project descriptions for this site will be added once they are available.

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This program is supported by the National Science Foundation Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) award number DMS-1757423.

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