A Summer Interval for Rice’s VIGRE Students

The VIGRE program, the NSF-funded Vertical Integration of Research and Education, is well into its second year at Rice.

VIGRE involves faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates from three departments: Mathematics, Statistics, and Computational and Applied Mathematics. During the school year, these participants form interdisciplinary teams to investigate cutting-edge research problems. During the 2004-05 year, ten teams were formed, and the students and faculty in these teams studied problems in a wide range of areas from computational finance to statistical genomics to computational image processing.

Students from many of these teams continued their research in Summer 2005. For example, students working in Computational Neuroscience continued their work on a neuro-simulator that mathematically models the electrical behavior of neurons in a particular region of the hippocampus using computational methods. The work students are doing is of particular interest to the Knierim Lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center, which conducts experiments investigating questions such as this: “How do the neurons [in the brain] interact to construct a coherent, stable representation of a spatial environment?” Answers may lead to a better understanding of the processes of the brain specific to navigation, learning, and memory.

During the months of June and July, faculty and students also had the opportunity to attend “The VIGRE Interval” activities that began at 3 pm each Wednesday. The events kicked off with an Ice Cream Social on June 1 in which team members introduced




VIGRE participants examine the posters on display during the summer poster session.

themselves to other teams and discussed progress of their work. On June 8 and 15, the Cain Project sponsored three communication workshops: Giving Oral Presentations in the Math Sciences, Organizing Patterns for Written and Oral Reports, and Information Design: Principles and Practices. Updates from several VIGRE teams about the progress of their research were given during the end of June and beginning of July, while a final poster symposium capped off the summer activities on July 22.


VIGRE Teams and Faculty Leaders

Computational Algebraic Geometry, Dr. Hassett
Developmental Biology, Dr. Forman
Computational Finance, Dr. Ensor
Statistical Genomics, Dr. Guerra
Computational Neuroscience,
Dr. S. Cox
Metabolic Engineering, Dr. S. Cox
Simulation-Driven Optimization: Control, Design, and Inverse Problems,
Dr. Symes and Dr. Heinkenschloss
Geometric Calculus of Variations,
Dr. Hardt and Dr. M. Wolf
Stochastic Processes and Molecular Biology, Dr. D. Cox and Dr. S. Cox
Computational Image Processing,
Dr. Hyde, Dr. Tapia, and Dr. Zhang




Leadership and Professional
Development Courses -
Fall ‘05

Presenting Your Research
Monday, Oct. 3rd - 3:00 - 5:00 pm

How to Recognize and Avoid Plagiarism
Friday, Oct. 28th 3:00 - 5:00 pm

How to Write a Paper for Publication

Friday, Oct. 7th - 3:00 - 5:00 pm

How to Plan, Write, and Defend your Thesis
Friday, Oct. 21st - 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Data Display: How to Effectively Present Your Findings
Friday, Nov. 18th - 10 am - Noon

To register for these courses, visit:


The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication helps Rice students become expert speakers and writers. Because of the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation’s generous gift, undergraduate and graduate students in science and engineering are developing the communication skills necessary for successful professional leadership.

Linda Driskill, PhD
Tracy Volz, PhD
Assistant Director

Rice University
PO Box 1892 - MS-340
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Phone: (713) 348-6141
Fax: (713) 348-6175
Email: cainproj@rice.edu


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