Department of Mathematical Sciences
Undergraduate Biology and Math Training Program (UBMTP)
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

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Aspects and Requirements

Description of the program
Application form
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2005 Projects

The enormous recent interest in biological research by physicists, computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians has been inspired in part by advances in mathematics, computing capabilities, and the realization that biological systems are often amenable to study as complex dynamical systems. This has led to a growing interest in exploring potential applications of these new tools and ideas within the biological sciences. On the other hand, almost all disciplines in biology, including neurobiology, biophysics, ecology, and cellular and molecular biology, have seen a rising interest and need for cross-disciplinary research with mathematics. 

While the recent history of collaboration between mathematicians with experimentalists has proved fruitful, it has been so short that very few researchers have “grown up” with the idea that mathematics and biology are, or could be, intimately linked. Instead, most of the current interdisciplinary researchers began their careers working solely in either mathematics (or a related area) or biology, and only switched into the other field at the post-doctoral level or later. While bringing new and fresh ideas to the other camp, these researchers needed, and continue to need, a significant time to acquire expertise in their new interdisciplinary field. This program is designed to begin the interdisciplinary training of students at an early stage of their careers, namely at the undergraduate level.

The Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics Training Program (UBMTP) will educate undergraduate students in an environment in which mathematics and biology are intimately linked at both the curricular as well as the research level.

A history of collaboration between mathematicians and biologists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has existed for several years. This program will build upon these existing interactions The UBMTP will focus on cross-disciplinary training of students at the curricular, research and mentoring levels. New courses designed to prepare students to carry out experimental work in biology laboratories and in math, and a new integrated double major in Biology and Mathematics will be developed as part of this initiative. Several research projects that address both biological and mathematical questions have been identified in fields as diverse as neurobiology, developmental biology and ecology. UBMTP students will learn in several different educational settings including in regular group meetings to discuss scientific research, individual mentoring by faculty teams and graduate students, and independent study to complete research findings.

The UBMTP combines research and teaching at a fundamental level for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for faculty members. Advanced UBMTP students will be required to mentor incoming UBMTP students utilizing knowledge gained during their research experience. Graduate students will run twice-monthly group training sessions, thus gaining valuable teaching experience. Upon graduation, UBMTP students will be in a unique position to pursue doctoral studies in either mathematics or biology programs, opportunities in bio-tech companies or careers in secondary school education.

Contact for further information and application process: Karen Roach (Bio-Math Administrator, Phone: 973-596-5612)
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