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Meet Anael Verdugo

Mathematician Uses Math to Study Biological Systems

April 29, 2014

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Mathematician Anael Verdugo is an assistant professor of mathematics.

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For faculty newcomer Anael Verdugo, a desire to become a math teacher was sparked during math Olympiad competitions at an early age.

But Verdugo, who grew up in a small Mexican border town, never thought he could become a college professor until he came to the United States, took courses at a San Diego community college and then transferred to the California Institute of Technology.

The assistant professor in mathematics, who joined Cal State Fullerton last fall, went on to earn his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Caltech and then pursued his doctorate in applied mathematics at Cornell University. His doctoral experience influenced his career path, giving him the confidence that he could excel as a college mathematics professor.

Further preparing him for a career in teaching and research, was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral grant he received during his last year at Cornell. As a postdoctoral fellow, Verdugo studied mathematical modeling of biological systems at England's University of Oxford and Virginia Tech.

"My postdoctoral research experience taught me the importance of learning how to communicate with biologists, which encouraged me to learn important skills in building, analyzing and validating dynamic models of cellular pathways by using dynamical systems, bifurcation theory and numerical methods," he said.

Last fall, Verdugo began teaching undergraduate students calculus and numerical analysis. He considers it a great opportunity to be at CSUF, where his new position will allow him to grow as a student mentor, as well as a scientist.

A recently awarded CSUF intramural faculty research grant will enable Verdugo to hire two students to work with him this summer on a research project related to the mathematical modeling of iron metabolism in cancer.

"I'm using my interdisciplinary research skills to engage students from the fields of mathematics and biology," he said. "This is allowing me to continue my work on mathematical modeling of biology systems and also provides a richer research experience for my students."

Tags:  Academics & Research