REU Program in Mathematical Biology: Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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 in mathematics. It gives the six participants research training in mathematical biology and introduces them to several areas of current interest: 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. The goal of the program is two-fold. First the students receive an introduction to the theory and methods of nonlinear dynamical systems, including phase plane analysis and bifurcation theory. These techniques are then used to answer questions about mathematical models of biological phenomena. This is of great value since dynamical systems arise in many areas in addition to biology, such as physics, engineering, and chemistry. The experience gained in studying models in detail will serve them well in future courses regardless of the field they choose to pursue. Second, the students are exposed to current topics of research in mathematical biology. Many of the topics discussed during the program are at early stages of development, and offer many opportunities for future research. 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 throught the program by both faculty and student participants along with discussion groups at the end of each day.

Effective start/end date7/1/996/30/00


  • National Science Foundation: $30,000.00


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