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CONTACT: Susie P. Gonzalez
March 8, 2010
Trinity University to Offer Biomathematics Minor
SAN ANTONIO – Trinity University has approved an interdisciplinary minor in biomathematics, an academic area for students interested in the expanding field of mathematical modeling of biological phenomena.
Saber Elaydi, professor and chair of Trinity’s mathematics department, said the collaboration among 13 professors in three academic departments will result in “a new type of scientist for the 21st century.” The minor will be included in the Courses of Study catalogue beginning in the fall of 2010.
Professor Elaydi and Kevin Livingstone, assistant professor of biology and chair of the biomathematics minor, have led the effort in developing curricula that begins with introductory courses in biology and mathematics and moves into more complex courses focused on ecology or genetics. Coursework began several years ago with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
A $900,000 grant received in 2009 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allow the partnership between biology, mathematics, and engineering science to continue moving toward what Professor Elaydi calls “the marriage” of the academic fields. Teams with faculty from each discipline are collaborating to find solutions to questions involving ecology, genetics, probability, statistics, neuroscience, and data modeling.
As part of the program, math classes will have labs, seminar classes in biomathematics will have outside speakers, and students will be able to present findings at research conferences. Curriculum details are at http://biomath.trinity.edu/bima.html.
In addition, 10 students have been selected as pioneers in the biomathematics minor and will be eligible for summer research stipends and continued work in the field. At least one student not chosen for the grant-funded research component wants to “work for free,” according to Professor Elaydi, who added, “For him, this is a golden opportunity that he did not see in any other school he looked at attending.”
Students chosen for the first biomathematics cohort are:
n Robert Doss, sophomore, biology major from Hobbs, N.M.
n Quentin Funk, junior, math and physics double major from Comfort, Texas
n Ashley Green, sophomore, no declared major from Brookside Village, Texas
n Samuel Keller, sophomore, biology major from Fort Worth
n Karen MacPherson, sophomore, biology and religion double major from Allen, Texas
n Stephen Manning, sophomore, biochemistry and molecular biology major from Kingwood, Texas
n Vivek Pakanati, first year, biology major from The Woodlands, Texas
n Kerry Seitz, sophomore, computer science major interested in medical school from Southlake, Texas
n Richard Simpson, sophomore, biology major from Houston
n Caitlin Troyer, junior, biology and religion double major from Atlanta
Trinity University, founded in 1869, is one of the nation’s top private undergraduate institutions. Noted for its superior academic quality, outstanding faculty, and exceptional academic and residential resources, Trinity is committed to the intellectual, civic, and professional preparation of its students.