Dr. Erwin Suazo's (President and Co-organizer) finished his Ph.D in mathematics in 2009 at Arizona State University (ASU), his research interests are in mathematical analysis of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) appearing in wave phenomena. The equations he works on have interesting and useful applications in physics (like describing the motion of particles in the presence of magnetic and electric fields changing with time), electrical engineering (laser beam propagation on lenses and atmosphere), biology (spacial population growth and gene selection) and computer science (testing numerical methods for PDEs). His most recent research as a visiting research scholar at Arizona State University focuses on laser beams propagation through non-homogenous media. Together with his collaborators they’ve been able to find new Hermite-Gaussian beam solutions that they expect can be observed experimentally. Dr Suazo has received funding as PI from Simons Foundation, NSF, Banco Santander, Colfuturo (Colombia) and UPRM for his research. Dr Suazo is highly motivated to bring opportunities to minority students and international students with historical low representation in science following the example of Dr. Joaquin Bustoz founder of SUMS at ASU. He is currently directing two master’s thesis and a total of four research projects that include four graduate students and three undergraduates from mathematics, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering. In 2014 one of his students was awarded in the area of Applied Mathematics in SACNAS. He teaches at UPRM different levels of calculus for biologists and for engineers, ordinary differential equations and partial differential equations, and through these classes he has been training and recruiting a diverse group of students and motivating them to do research and pursue PhD in mathematics.
Dr. Karen Rios-Soto (Co-organizer) obtained her PhD from Cornell University in 2008. She has ample experience in the development of students through educational, research and mentorship activities from the undergraduate to the doctoral level. She has supervised undergraduate research for more than 25 students, and is currently supervising 4 master’s level students. She has been involved with the REU-Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) at Arizona State University (ASU) for more than 11 years. She has participated there as an undergraduate student, graduate student, and faculty and for the summers of 2010, 2011, 2012 as the summer director for the program. Under MTBI she has supervised more than 5 undergraduate summer research projects. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Science Center in ASU. Dr. Ríos-Soto’s research interests are in mathematical epidemiology, the modeling of disease dynamics, population biology and social dynamics. In particular, her research is driven by the study of the mechanisms underlying the spread of infectious diseases, their control and prevention. She also worked on theoretical approaches to study dispersal in epidemics and the impact of transient populations on disease dynamics. Her most recent interests are in studying how transient population impacts disease dispersion and persistence, as well as the impact of particulate matter such as PM10 in lung diseases. Other research projects are on estimation of epidemiological parameters from disease data, in particular for dengue fever. In the past, she has studied the role of epidemiological modeling approaches and methods on the deliberate release of biological agents (smallpox) and the role of peer pressure on various social processes such as smoking, ecstasy use and obesity. The mathematical tools involved in these modeling approaches are, among others, ordinary and partial differential equations, dynamical systems, difference equations, integral equations, linear algebra, probability and statistics.
Dr. Pedro A. Torres Saavedra ( Co-organizer) is currently an Assistant Professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). He teaches undergraduate and graduate statistics courses and he is the coordinator of the Statistical Consulting Laboratory. His research interests are the development of statistical methodology particularly in quantile regression, longitudinal data and functional mixed models. He also has interests in applications of statistical methods to the epidemiology of fatal vehicle crashes, alcohol and drugs. Dr. Torres received his Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University in 2013. Before coming to the UPRM, he worked at PIRE, where as a statistician he participated in several research efforts aimed to curb impaired driving in the country. During that period, he participated in several collaborations that allowed him to gain expertise in the field of traffic safety, impaired driving in particular. The collaboration with PIRE also has extended to recent years, during which he has co-authored several manuscripts. Dr. Torres is also the Co-PI of a research project funded by the University Transportation Research Center aiming to build predictive models for fatal and non-fatal crashes in PR. This is collaborative effort with researchers from civil engineering will produce models to predict the number of fatal and non-fatal crashes in roads with certain characteristics. The outputs from these models can be incorporated into the transportation planning to improve traffic safety in PR. Dr. Torres is also the treasurer of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Statistical Association. During his graduate school, he also spent a couple years as a statistical consultant for nonclinical and drug development studies in the pharmaceutical industry.
Emmie M. Román Meléndez (Student Organizer) is an undergraduate student in Mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM). She has had the opportunity to work on undergraduate research with Karen Ríos-Soto at UPRM, Janet Best at Ohio State University and Jukka-Pekka Ohnela at Harvard School of Public Health. Moreover, she has assisted to different conferences and symposiums such as 2012 SACNAS National Conference, 2012 AGMUS Research Symposium, 2013 NEA Science Day, 2013 OSU SROP Research Symposium and 2014 Field of Dreams Conference. Furthermore, she was an honor student in 2012 and received the Ciencia National Scholarship (Alliance/Merk Ciencia (Science) Hispanic Scholars) for the next year. Her research interests are in the field of applied mathematics, biostatistics and public health.
Roberto J. Pérez Santiago (Student Organizer) is currently an undergraduate student in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). He has participated in a variety of research experiences. He spent the summer of 2012 doing research in solar physics at Montana State University and the summer of 2013 doing research in graph theory at Kansas State University. His research interests also expand to Partial Differential Equations, something he is currently working on at UPRM under the mentorship of Dr. Erwin Suazo and for which he received the PR-LSAMP grant in 2014. He currently holds the position of Math Olympiad Coach at Southwestern Educational Society where he trains high school students to participate in local and international mathematical Olympiads. Roberto is the current Vice-President of the Association of Mathematics and Computer Sciences Students at UPRM. He also enjoys participating in programming and mathematical competitions.