Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events
By Kristen Cole   Date: 1/27/09

Students Combine Math and Biology in Barbados

Sophomores Yang Li and Diana Jaunzeikare (pictured, standing fourth and fifth from the left) joined others at the BioMathamatics conference in Barbados.

Although the Island of Barbados is known for its white sand beaches, two Smith College sophomores will remember it for a different reason: The opportunity to dive into the subject of BioMathematics with experts in the field.

The pair of sophomores spent the early days of January on the island that is situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, presenting their research within the rapidly expanding multidisciplinary field that uses mathematical tools to model problems in biology.

Amherst resident Yang Li ’11 and classmate Diana Jaunzeikare ’11, of Latvia, participated in the conference, which was held at the Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University, and organized by Ileana Streinu, professor of computer science and mathematics.

Li and Jaunzeikare presented their work examining how proteins perform their function as building blocks of life, said Streinu.

“Their superb performance is strongly motivated by the novelty of the field and by the opportunities of getting involved in real research projects that captured their imagination,” said Streinu. “At Smith, first and second-year students get a direct involvement in research projects.”

Streinu began organizing the conferences eight years ago in order to gather together the relatively small group of experts in the new field. The challenge of the study often includes developing new mathematical tools to tackle the biological conundrums, according to Streinu.

“Here, the mathematicians develop formalisms and algorithms and prove theorems about them, and eventually all returns to the original biological question.”

Li, daughter of Jin Ling Li and Zhi Qing Chu, graduated from Amherst Regional High School, and Jaunzeikare, daughter of Aigars and Lilita Jaunzeikare, from Riga State Gymnasium.


DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z