VIGRE@LSU: Research Connections

Note: This is an archival page. Webpages on the VIGRE@LSU grant are no longer maintained.

Vertical Integration of Research and Education
Louisiana State University

Exposure and experience in working in applied mathematics and applications provide valuable professional development for graduate students. The duration can be one term or a summer. The Center for Bioinformatics at Colorado State University, Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD), and the LSU Department of Chemistry have agreed to support our VIGRE activities by incorporating LSU mathematics students into their projects. Other programs might be added.

It is the main objective of this program to give students in pure mathematics the opportunity to have some experience outside of academic mathematics. This may give a student a broader perspective when searching for employment

In addition to providing internship opportunities, this program will bring mathematicians to LSU from industry and national labs to speak to students about their work and employment opportunities. LSU has a rich tradition of graduates, who have risen to prominent positions in industry.

Steering committee members L. Smolinsky is the main organizer for this program.


In the Summer 2012, Neal Livesay traveled to Marineland, FL to work at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for the Research Connections Program.


In the Summer 2011, Tyler Moss traveled to Marineland, FL to work with Dr. Andrey Ptitsyn at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for the Research Connections Program. His report is as follows:

I traveled to Marineland, FL, for the purpose of working with Dr. Andrey Ptitsyn at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for the Research Connections Program, supported by VIGRE. I stayed at the laboratory from July 4, to August 3. This experience was quite different from the work that I am used to. The purpose of the Research Connections Program as I understand it is to pair students of pure mathematics with researchers in more applied sciences with the hope that the interdisciplinary study may be beneficial to both parties involved. My experience should be considered successful in that regard. Dr. Ptitsyn was very knowledgeable about practical issues associated with biology and bioinformatics. He also happened to have an excellent intuition about what important problems in his field could possibly be translated into mathematical problems. In our first meeting, we explained our research areas to each other. I did my best to explain matroid theory to an audience not well-versed in mathematics. While I am not sure that Dr. Ptitsyn completely understood matroids after my talk, he did immediately make a connection to combinatorics. He quickly presented a problem in bioinformatics to me related to the unique reconstructibility of DNA sequences from their subsequences which had an obvious formulation as a combinatorial problem. I was able to solve this problem and provide a proof of my result. However, I later found out the result I had proved was well-known to those who had studied the problem since the late 1980s. This was an unfortunate obstacle which was commonly encountered by me this summer. The problems I studied were either too difficult or had already been solved. In spite of these difficulties, I enjoyed the program and feel that it will benefits me in the long-run. Dr. Ptitsyn seemed eager to keep in contact about these problems, and I hope to be able to find time to continue work on them at some point. The staff at the Whitney Laboratory was very friendly and helpful, though the lodging situation was a bit unusual. I shared a modular home" with two graduate students from the University of Florida. It was a bit awkward being a visitor in what was used by these students as long-term living, but it was conveniently located on the campus of the laboratory and ended up being a reasonably-priced solution which was probably much more comfortable than the dormitories there.


Deborah Chun and Michael Harrison participated in the Research Connections Program for 2010. Chun reported on her work completed with Andrey A. Ptitsyn at Colorado State University.


During the summer 2009 three graduate students participated in this program. Dave Chapman and Lisa Warshauer worked on tomography projects with faculty members at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD) on LSU campus. J. Blanton worked with Andrey A Ptitsyn at Colorado State University on Mathematical Modeling of a Branch of the Leptin Signaling Pathway. He continued working on the model during the fall semester 2009. A draft of an article was written, but it has not been published. To cite his email to the PI, G. Olafsson: So far, a limited amount of experimental data and the lack of a decided upon system of ODEs to use for the model has denied us a publishable result. I am continuing work on the model with a new Capstone group and a few new ideas. Dave and Lisa reported on their completed work, as did Jacob.

2010Chun.pdf1.17 MB
Blanton.pdf512.88 KB
ChapmandandWarshauer.pdf25.92 KB