282930 Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems: Research At the Interface of Chemical Engineering and Biology

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Jennifer Anne Pascal, Pathology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Within its Grand Challenges, The National Academy of Engineering poses the question, "How will engineering impact biological research?" Conducting research at the interface of engineering and biology by using mathematical modeling to describe and predict emergent behavior in biological systems has the potential to provide an answer to this question. Using my background in mathematical modeling, I seek to develop a research program that integrates chemical engineering and biology.

My doctoral research focused on using mathematical modeling to understand the effects of morphology on bioseparations in electrokinetics systems, such as nanocomposite gels. Microdomains of idealized geometries were used to describe the internal structure of the gels and the transport was modeled with continuum approaches. Using spatial averaging, optimal separation times of macromolecules, such as proteins, could be obtained for different morphologies. Through my coursework and doctoral research, I acquired fundamental knowledge in applied mathematics, transport phenomena and numerical analysis that I can apply to mathematically model a variety of systems. Because of my strong interest in biological applications, my postdoctoral work is highly interdisciplinary, at the interface of engineering and biology, focusing on modeling intracellular transport and drug delivery to tumors. Specifically, my current work strongly integrates mathematical models and experimental biological data. Through my doctoral and postdoctoral research, I have had the opportunity to interact with collaborators from a variety of disciplines, including mathematics, chemistry and pathology.

Because of my strong desire to be an effective teacher as well as researcher, my postdoctoral work also places an emphasis on education and teaching, I currently devote 25% of my time to improving my knowledge of pedagogical techniques and their implementation in the classroom, through participation in workshops, courses and conferences.

In this presentation, I will describe details of my previous and current research and how my foundational knowledge in mathematics, transport phenomena, and biology will be used to build my research program. I will also discuss my teaching philosophy and plan for facilitating courses.

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