Flexible and Extendable Scientific Undergraduate Experience

Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar (2 credits)

The research level material at the interface between mathematics, statistics, and the life sciences necessary to formulate research problems will be provided by the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar. All FEScUE students will participate for three semesters in a single Interdisciplinary Research Seminar, beginning in the fall of the sophomore year, regardless of the research clusters they eventually join. The Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will be closely coordinated with the Team Research Seminar in the following three phases.

  1. In the fall semester before taking the Team Research Seminar, students in the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will be exposed to (1) specialized research material relevant to the particular project in the upcoming Team Research Seminar; (2) research seminars at the interface of mathematics, statistics, and life sciences provided by faculty who are interested in participating in FEScUE in future years; and (3) research results of students from the previous FEScUE cohort who have already joined research clusters. Topics will be presented in an alternating fashion, with the material in (1) taking roughly half of the biweekly meetings. Specialized material will be presented by the faculty that will teach the subsequent Team Research Seminar. The FEScUE organizers will coordinate the seminars falling under (2) and (3).

  2. In the spring semester concurrent with the Team Research Seminar, students in the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will be exposed to research level material that places the work ongoing in the Team Research Seminar into a wider scientific context. This will gradually lead to research discussions aimed at formulating new, original research projects to be undertaken in the following summer and academic semesters. This phase of the seminar will address the relevance, importance and timeliness of research problems, examine the formulation of the biological problems as a mathematical model, acknowledge both the biological and mathematical assumptions inherent in the model, and conduct a review of the existing biological and mathematical literature.

  3. In the Fall Semester following enrollment in the Team Research Seminar and a summer of research, juniors and seniors who passed through the Team Research Seminar and engaged in research clusters will give presentations describing research results and help to mentor the younger cadre of students.

The Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will be a credit bearing sophomore level course during the first year. Students will enroll in a junior level course for the second fall semester during which they present their work. During all three semesters the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will periodically divide into the individual research clusters for the presentation of materials related to the individual research clusters. As described, the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar will also provide a forum for new faculty seeking to join the FEScUE program to present their work and to establish new interdisciplinary collaborations. It will provide a venue for groups to report on their work and for ethics and career oriented talks.