Eddy Kwessi, Ph.D., professor of mathematics at Trinity University, has been awarded an inaugural AMS-Simons Research Enhancement Grant for Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) Faculty. The grant, given by the American Mathematical Society, provides $3,000 a year for three years to support research-related activities.
Kwessi's research interests include nonparametric statistics, biostatistics and biomathematics, and harmonic and functional analysis and its applications to statistics. In true Trinity fashion, Kwessi's current work explores how math can bridge disciplines to help us better understand real-world problems.
"I am working right now on topics related to computational neuroscience," Kwessi says. "There are many memorable ones. I am particularly proud of the use of topology, data analysis to understand brain pathologies such as epilepsy. The most surprising topic relates a phenomenon that is typically studied in ecology to another similar one that arises in neuroscience. The linkage between the two via mathematical equations is very surprising."
Awardees can use their grant to fund conference participation, institute visits, collaboration travel (awardee or collaborator), computer equipment or software, family-care expenses, hiring a teaching assistant, publication expenses, stationery, supplies, books, and membership fees to professional organizations. They may also spend up to $2,500 on electronic devices to support their research activities throughout the three-year period.
Kwessi is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to use his grant for funding future research conference appearances.
"One thing I found out is that by attending conferences as much as possible, I could not only mingle with my peers but also stay abreast of the state of research. I have found out that attending conferences is very rewarding for me academically because of the interesting ideas or collaboration opportunities one could get from them," Kwessi says. "A byproduct of attending conferences on a personal level is the discovery of another city, another museum, another culture, or just something I did not know before, all contributing to one's well-being."
Kwessi is also grateful that this grant helps cover publication expenses, which can often stand as hurdles for faculty hoping to share their research within their field.
"Surely, we can always try to find journals requiring no publication fees, but the reality is that the best ones now require some publication fees. Having this grant gives me the confidence to try and have my papers published in reputable journals such as Nature Neuroscience or Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience," Kwessi says. "Any such publication would help me with name recognition, more visibility, and perhaps more successful future funding applications."