HRP SU21-20: Research Opportunity with Dr. Pedro Mendes

Project Mentor

Dr. Pedro Mendes
Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description Investigate the presence of chaotic dynamics in a set of differential equation-based models of biological systems. The student will use the software COPASI, and its cloud-based version Cloud-COPASI, to apply different global optimization algorithms in order to search for the existence of aperiodic behavior (chaos) in those models. The project will allow the student to learn about mathematical models of biological systems, computational systems biology, and simulation using high-performance computing.
Project Direction The project is part of demonstrating a method to search for chaotic dynamics using optimization algorithms. Our software COPASI is widely used by the research community (with more than 100 papers published yearly that use it) and this new method would broaden the applications of this software to new biological nonlinear dynamics problems. Depending on the results, this could lead to a peer-reviewed publication.
Mentorship and Supervision I will be assisted by a team of two postdocs with a background in computing and mathematics who will help train the research assistant. Daily meetings will help keep the assistant on track with the research. Weekly oral presentations by the research assistant to the research group will provide the means to monitor progress and provide formal feedback (in addition to the daily meetings)
Student Qualifications Students with mathematics background with an interest in biological systems would be preferred. Students with a mathematical background should have completed Differential Calculus (Calculus 1) and preferably Integral Calculus (Calculus 2).
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 24 to July 30, 2021
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Academic Year Time Commitment 3 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, February 1, 2021.

This application requires a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, and a brief statement of research interests.