Benjamin Reber, a Houghton College junior studying mathematics and computer science, was recently accepted into the Summer Research Experiences (SRE) program at the National Institute for Mathematics and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).
NIMBioS invites researchers from around the world to collaborate across different disciplines in order to find new solutions to current biological problems. Their SRE program, which takes place on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus, is designed for undergraduates studying math, biology, and other related fields. It provides opportunities for students to conduct research with University of Tennessee professors, NIMBioS researchers, and other collaborators.
Reber’s project, which he will work on with other SRE students, is titled “Ecological Niche Modeling and Risk Assessment of Thousand Cankers Disease.” Thousand cankers disease appears in black walnut trees, and has been more severe in the eastern United States than in the west. By studying various models, students will determine what conditions contribute to greater infection and mortality of trees in the eastern U.S.
Reber is the third Houghton student to be accepted into the program; also attending this summer will be junior Brielle Kwarta.
“This program will help to prepare me for research at the graduate school level,” says Reber. “More importantly, I am grateful that I get to contribute to research that is relevant for environmental conservation efforts in the U.S.”
NIMBioS is a National Science Foundation sponsored initiative to foster interdisciplinary research at the interface between mathematical and biological sciences. Additional NIMBioS sponsors include the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.