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Faculty Members from Biology, Mathematics & Statistics, and Arabic Receive Research Grants

Magnolias blooming

Four faculty members have been awarded grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in collaboration with the Simons Foundation, and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.

Dawn CaroneAssociate Professor of Biology Dawn Carone received a $15,018 Formula Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Carone's research is poised to advance the understanding of cancer cells. By analyzing a comprehensive dataset of repetitive DNA sequences expressed in various cancer cell types, this project aims to unravel the mysteries of why some of these sequences are expressed while others remain silent. Carone’s project will involve undergraduate research assistants and contribute to the development of a diverse scientific workforce.

Catherine HsuAssistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Catherine Hsu received a $9,000 AMS-Simons Research Enhancement Grant, spread over three years, to support her work in algebraic number theory. This grant will facilitate Hsu's research on arithmetic structures associated with modular and automorphic forms, including Eisenstein ideals, Hecke algebras, and Galois deformation rings.

One project that will be supported by this grant focuses on level-raising congruences involving Eisenstein series. This work is in collaboration with Amie Bray, a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University; Alice Pozzi, lecturer in the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol; Óscar Rivero, assistant professor of mathematics at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Vinayak Vatsal, professor of mathematics at the University of British Columbia; and Carl Wang-Erickson, assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Allison MillerAssistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Allison Miller received $9,000 over three years from the AMS-Simons Research Enhancement Grants program. The grant supports various projects, including Miller’s collaborative work with Anthony Conway, assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin on analyzing surfaces in four-dimensional space. These surfaces, which might intersect themselves, present visualization challenges in our three-dimensional world. Miller’s project aims to develop algebraic tools to determine when two surfaces have the same structure.

Additionally, she is working on a long-term project to develop mathematical arguments for distinguishing between similar three-dimensional knots, aiming to differentiate knots that are alike in many respects. With this funding, Miller is advancing the understanding of the mathematical structures that define the universe.

Ben SmithAssistant Professor of Arabic Benjamin Lenox Smith was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Engagement Scholarship Consortium for the course First Year Seminar: Refuge: Resettled in Philadelphia. Co-developed with Katie Price, senior associate director at Swarthmore's Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, the program began in Fall 2023 and will run until April 2024.

The project aims to connect students with Philadelphia's resettled Arabic-speaking communities through creative collaboration. The course features workshops led by artists and focuses on expanding the concept of chosen family. The project, which embodies anti-racist pedagogy and community engagement, will culminate in a comic book illustrated by Eric Battle, scheduled for publication in April 2024.

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