Mathematical Sciences: Undergraduate Program in Mathematical Biology

Project: Research project

Project Details


Penn State Erie's REU Program in Mathematical Biology will involve undergraduates in one of the richest and fastest growing fields of mathematics. It affords the six participants the opportunity to pursue research in one of several areas of mathematical biology: cancer modeling, pattern formation in active media, and the modeling of electrically excitable cells. The only prerequisites are the successful completion of a course in ordinary differential equations and an interest in biology. Throughout the four-week period of the program students will work in teams on different aspects of a current research problem in mathematical biology. The biological underpinnings of the problem will be discussed in detail during the first week and will motivate the subsequent mathematical analysis. Mathematical methods introduced during the program will include phase plane analysis and bifurcation theory. Students will have access to Pentium computers running the Linux operating system and will learn the mathematical software package XPP, a powerful tool for phase plane and bifurcation analysis. Seminars will be given throughout the program by both faculty and student participants, and the program will culminate with a written report and presentation by each team on their results. Participation will result in many benefits to the students. First, they will see the importance and applicability of mathematics by participating, first hand, in the solution of a research problem from biology. Second, through team work they will learn the value of cooperation and the ability to work with, and communicate technical information to, others. Finally, the experience will give the participants exposure to the excitement and hard work involved in scientific research, and will provide motivation for continued study in mathematics or the sciences.

Effective start/end date8/1/977/31/98


  • National Science Foundation: $30,000.00


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