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Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute Research Program for Undergraduates

Encourages underrepresented minorities (URMs), primarily Chicano/Latino, Native American and African American undergraduates to pursue advanced degrees in mathematics and the sciences, and to facilitate their access to selective graduate programs in these areas.

The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute Research Program for Undergraduates achieves its objectives in a variety of ways including an intensive multiple-summer research training program and long-term support for its alumni. The sequential summer research experiences take place at Arizona State University and last 8 weeks. Students receive 3.5 weeks of intensive training in mathematical and computational techniques in order to develop and carry out their own research projects during the remainder of the program. The research experience ends with the completion of a formal research paper and public oral and poster presentations of students’ findings.

Since 1996 MTBI students have produced 144 technical reports (abstracts and recent papers available through our website). A large number of these technical reports have resulted in refereed publications with MTBI alumni as co-authors. MTBI students present their work at national conferences.

The institute provides its alumni continued academic encouragement and support throughout their graduate studies and afterwards. Through 2010, 207 out of 282 (or 73%) former U.S. MTBI student participants had enrolled in graduate or professional school programs (this number includes eight teaching/graduate assistants who were involved with MTBI over the course of multiple years). One hundred fifty-one (151) are underrepresented minorities. To date 68 MTBI student participants have completed their PhDs, 44 of whom are underrepresented minorities; that is, 65% of MTBI PhD recipients are members of minority groups. In fact, MTBI graduates at least 50% of all US Latinos getting a PhD in mathematical biology. Program alumni now hold positions at numerous institutions, including Arizona State University, Brown University, East Tennessee State University, University of California – San Francisco, Michigan University, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

Funding Source: Department of Defense (National Security Agency)

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change