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Center for Mathematical Biology

Bringing together researchers for the development and application of mathematics to a broad range of biological processes, organisms, behaviors, and ecologies

The Center for Mathematical Biology fosters the exchange of ideas and the development of research collaborations involving mathematical models and quantitative approaches to the life sciences.

The scientific study of living things is increasingly quantitative, exposing new opportunities for innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration. This center draws on Penn State's considerable strengths in an array of disciplines⁠—with a common theme of using mathematical, statistical, and computational tools to provide insight and understanding to biological observations and data analysis. 

Members are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise from across departments and colleges. Our members employ observational, laboratory, mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches to address a broad range of biological and medical questions.

We work at the interface between the observation of living systems and the development of appropriate quantitative methods. Mathematical models can be descriptive, but ultimately should be predictive. Our ultimate goal is to integrate observation and modeling, specifically in areas including cancer, cellular biology, ecology, epidemiology, and neuroscience.


Models project COVID-19 cases may spike in May, before sharply declining by July

With lower use of public health measures, such as mask wearing, COVID-19 cases are projected to increase and peak during May 2021, but high vaccination uptake and moderate compliance with public health recommendations could mitigate surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months, according to new model projections.

Ottar Bjørnstad elected to Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters

Ottar N. Bjørnstad, distinguished professor of entomology and biology and J. Lloyd & Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair of Epidemiology at Penn State, has been elected to the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. Bjørnstad was recommended as a result of his significant contributions to the fields of population ecology and quantitative epidemiology.

Researchers awarded $1.5M to create stem cell predictive model

Stem cells are the building blocks of the body, according to Penn State researchers. Though similar to one another at their origins, stem cells take on unique characteristics as they mature, becoming specialized cells throughout the body — such as bone, muscle, ligament, tissue or other organ cells.

Biomedical engineers find active particles swim against the current

Researchers are beginning to understand the behavior of so-called “active” particles, which, if it can be controlled, has potential implications for engineered drug delivery systems and smart 3D printing, according to an interdisciplinary Penn State research team.