Mathematical Theoretical Biology Institute Research Program for Undergraduates

  • Castillo-Chavez, Carlos (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Summary Established in 1996, the Mathematical& Theoretical Biology Institute Research Program for Undergraduates (MTBI) was created in response to the dire need for U.S. educated mathematical scientists and broader representation of underrepresented minority groups in STEM sciences. Recipient of two Presidential awards and recognized by the American mathematical community as one of the nations top mentoring programs producing URM doctorates in applied mathematics, MTBI continues to make substantial headway in this area. Roughly 50% of the US minority mathematical biology Ph.Ds. earned each year are MTBI alumni, with the majority of them U.S. Latinos. MTBI alumni represent a significant pipeline of URM mathematically trained candidates for STEM programs across the nation, producing more than 100 doctorates since its inception. MTBI is an 8-week, in-residence REU program at Arizona State University that targets U.S. URMs, women and those with limited STEM opportunities in their home institutions, and provides them with in-depth, student-driven research experiences with top mentors and faculty in their fields. In addition to advanced instructional and research preparation, students cultivate a strong network of peer, faculty and industry mentors to support them on their path to the doctorate. The goals of the program are to (1) develop and nurture individuals who will impact the culture and diversity of the U.S. while strengthening their communities and (2) to increase the success rate of these individuals as they journey through their baccalaureate programs and beyond to successful Ph.D. scholars working in academia or industry. Key to this success is their development on academic and non-academic levels to help them manage and navigate the inevitable stresses and hurdles encountered during a Ph.D. program. The MTBI network is the hallmark of the programs highly effective recruitment and retention strategy, providing students with critical support that prevents challenges from becoming barriers to their success. Beyond the 8-week intensive summer institute, MTBI is a multi-faceted year-round program that impacts individuals from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral and faculty levels through sustained mentorship through research adaptive models of learning. Arizona State University requests funding for 20 MTBI REU participants each year, with the full MTBI program directly involving 45 people and roughly have funded by NSA and the other half by NSF. The experience culminates in the publishing of high-quality technical research reports on subjects that represent significant challenges faced by society. Funding provides travel, subsistence, stipends, and access to faculty mentors and experiences that foster a collaborative learning environment. A team of highly experienced faculty and mentors, including past MTBI alumni, leads the program.
Effective start/end date5/30/145/29/15


  • DOD: National Security Agency (NSA): $122,439.00


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