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The 2024 Internal Research Projects

Updated: 10 hours ago

NSF-Simons National Institute for Theory and Mathematics in Biology faculty members are collaborating across disciplines and universities on emerging questions in mathematics and biology. The Internal Research Project awards support research at the interface of mathematics, theory, experimental and empirical biology to develop new math that will accelerate biological discovery.  

The NITMB is pleased to share the titles and teams of select internal research projects exploring the Institute’s five interrelated themes. 

Emergence of Bistability in Circadian Clock Temperature Response

Michael Rust (University of Chicago)

Principal Investigator: Michael Rust (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Aaron Dinner (University of Chicago) 

Quantifying Natural Movement Variation in the Brain and Behavior

Stephanie Palmer (University of Chicago)

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Palmer (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Jason MacLean (University of Chicago) (Right) 

Uncovering the Genetic Fitness Landscape Behind Bacterial Motility in Complex Environments

Jasmine Nirody (University of Chicago)

Principal Investigator: Jasmine Nirody (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: István Kovács (Northwestern University) (Right)

Learning Rules of Epithelial Tissue Dynamics

Margaret Gardel (University of Chicago)

Principal Investigator: Margaret Gardel (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Cara J. Gottardi (Northwestern University) (Right)

Vincenzo Vitelli (University of Chicago)

Collaborator: Vincenzo Vitelli (University of Chicago)

DNA as a Carbon Reservoir: Spatiotemporal Modeling of Extracellular DNA (eDNA) Dynamics in Biofilms

Arthur Prindle (Northwestern University) 

Principal Investigator: Arthur Prindle (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: David Chopp (Northwestern University) (Right)

Natural Motion and Optimal Predication in a Complete Retinal Population

Gregory W. Schwartz (Northwestern University)

Principal Investigator: Gregory W. Schwartz (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Stephanie Palmer (University of Chicago) (Right)

Understanding Synaptic Wiring Rules in the C. Elegans Brain 

István Kovács (Northwestern University)

Principal Investigator: István Kovács (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Engin Özkan (University of Chicago) (Right)

Modeling and Analysis of Synchronous Behavior in Biological Systems

Daniel Abrams (Northwestern University)

Principal Investigator: Daniel Abrams (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Guy Amichay (Northwestern University) (Right)

Keeping Growing Clocks in Sync 

Principal Investigator: Rosemary Braun (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Michael Rust (University of Chicago) (Right)

What’s the Place for Planning? 

Malcolm MacIver (Northwestern University)

Principal Investigator: Malcolm MacIver (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Daniel Dombeck (Northwestern University) (Right)

Collaborator: Matthew Kaufman (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Bradley Stadie (Northwestern University) (Right)

A Theory of Models for Complex Ecology

Seppe Kuehn (University of Chicago) 

Principal Investigator: Seppe Kuehn (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Madhav Mani (Northwestern University) (Right)

Inferring Models for Microbial Dynamics

Principal Investigator: Stefano Allesina (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Niall Mangan (Northwestern University) (Right)

Collaborator: Mary Silber (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Rebecca Willett (University of Chicago) (Right)

Topological Analysis of Biological Data

Principal Investigator: Samantha Riesenfeld (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Shmuel Weinberger (University of Chicago) (Right)

Collaborator: Richard Carthew (Northwestern University)

Inverse problem of inferring adaptive strategies from the statistics of rare events

Principal Investigator: Arvind Murugan (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Yogesh Goyal (Northwestern University) (Right)

A new mathematical theory for fluctuations, anticipation and response in non-equilibrium

Principal Investigator: Suriyanarayanan Vaikutanathan (University of Chicago) (Left)

Collaborator: Petia Vlahovska (Northwestern University) (Right)

Towards the Molecular Basis of Graft Compatibility: Full-Scale Network Study

Principal Investigator: Adilson Motter (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Nyree Zerega (Northwestern University) (Right)

Linking gene expression profiles to firing properties in the Drosophila thermosensory circuit

Principal Investigator: William Kath (Northwestern University) (Left)

Collaborator: Marco Gallio (Northwestern University) (Right)

Information on internal research conducted at the NITMB is available at: 



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