BGSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics Newsletter
Welcome to New Faculty
Ms. Lada Carlisle, an assistant teaching professor, joined the math department in January 2021. She obtained her MA in applied mathematics in 1994. From 1994-1997, she studied on a post-graduate program toward a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. After that, she taught a variety of math courses including numerous foundational math classes. Her background in computer science and economics is beneficial to and are merged into her teaching.
Dr. Riddhi Ghosh, an assistant professor in our department since August 2021, obtained his Ph.D. in statistics from Texas A&M University in 2019. Before joining our department, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the department of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research field is about Bayesian analysis, mixed models, and network science. Dr. Ghosh is collaborating with an expert in medical science, Dr. Christina Master, professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, and her group at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention on a project with a focus on studying concussion for youth. His duties in our department are to work on data science and statistics programs.
Ms. Courtney Wilcox, an assistant teaching professor in our department since August 2021, has been with BGSU for many years. She studied in the College of Education and received her bachelor’s degree in education from BGSU. Courtney completed her MA in mathematics from our department in 2019. Additionally, she taught as a graduate instructor in our department for two years.
Grants Awarded to Math Faculty
Professor Wei Ning received a grant to fund his project titled "Empirical-Likelihood-Based Sequential Changepoint Detection Methods for High Dimensional Data" sponsored by the Simons Foundation. The grant will provide $42,000 over the next five years for a long of list of research expenses including scientific travel for the researchers and their students, inviting speakers and visitors from other universities to visit BGSU, funding department seminars and colloquia, and paying for research materials. This five-year grant is designed to increase collaborative contacts between mathematicians and statisticians.
Professor Alexander Izzo has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project concerning new developments at the interface of Banach algebras and complex analysis. In addition to providing support for Dr. Izzo (Principal Investigator) and travel funds, the grant also provides support for a graduate student research assistant. Dr. Izzo also received an award from the Simons Foundation for his project titled “Uniform Algebras and Analytic Structure.”
Assistant Professor Ben Ward was awarded a Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians from the Simons Foundation. This funded project is titled “Rational Homotopy Type of Graph Complexes.” This is a five-year grant designed to increase collaborative contacts between mathematicians and statisticians. The grant will provide funding for Dr. Ward to work with his collaborators and to invite other mathematicians and statisticians to BGSU. A portion of the $42,000 grant will be used to support departmental colloquia and seminars, as well as refreshments and other research-related amenities; to fund student orientations, prospective student visits and other departmental activities; to subsidize meals for faculty, students, and visitors; and to facilitate research activities on furniture and research infrastructure, such as copiers, computer servers and computer support.
Associate Professor Kimberly Rogers has developed and implemented an NSF-funded peer-mentoring program for graduate student instructors. As PI on multiple NSF projects she helps experienced graduate students become effective peer-mentors and facilitate and coordinate a peer-mentoring program focused on developing graduate students’ abilities to implement active-learning techniques in mathematics departments across a number of universities. She received an award from the NSF Education & Human Resources for Collaborative Research: Mathematics Graduate Student Peer Mentoring in 2019.
Professor Craig Zirbel and his long-time collaborator Neocles Leontis in Chemistry at BGSU were awarded a renewal of funding from the National Institutes of Health. This $1.5 million grant will fund work in RNA bioinformatics from September 2020 to August 2024, which brings them to a total of 12 years of NIH funding. The project is the continuation of a collaboration between the BGSU RNA Group and researchers at Rutgers University who run the Nucleic Acid Database. Over the years, the collaboration has developed and made available to the research community various annotations of RNA 3D structures and tools to search them and to infer 3D structure from sequence alone. The NIH funding has supported nine Ph.D. students and two Master’s students and provided projects and learning experiences for undergraduates and high school students.
DNA is a molecule made up of a long chain of A, C, G, T nucleotides, which encode our genetic information in essentially a digital format. DNA is analogous to the hard drive on a computer; suitable for long-term storage of programs and data. By contrast, RNA molecules are like the programs that get read off the hard drive at the right time, making things happen, and then get cleared out. RNA molecules are relatively short chains of A, C, G, U nucleotides and only persist in the cell for a few hours to a few days, but during that time they interact with proteins and other molecules to help regulate our metabolism, detect changes in temperature and the levels of important metabolites, and determine where and when certain parts of the DNA are read. Both DNA and RNA carry out many of their roles by virtue of the 3D shapes that they form, which research groups around the world determine to atomic precision and deposit at the Protein Data Bank. The analysis pipeline developed at BGSU will download these 3D structures, annotate and organize them, identify recurrent motifs within them, allow researchers to search them for other motifs of interest, and provide tools to predict 3D geometries from nucleotide sequence. Analyzing DNA 3D structures and the interactions between RNA/DNA and proteins will be new in this four-year period. The work done by the group is posted online with weekly updates.
Tragically, Professor Leontis died in a car crash in December 2020, shortly after the final grant notification was received. This was a great loss to the BGSU community, the City of Bowling Green, and the RNA research community. Dr. Leontis was constantly in motion, trying to make the world a better place. Among his many contributions to BGSU, he served as Chair of Faculty Senate, served on the committee that wrote the BGSU Climate Action Plan, and led an Innovative Teaching Group of faculty. He was elected to the Bowling Green City Council in November 2019 and worked to improve rental regulations and move Bowling Green toward carbon neutrality. He was a founding member of the Black Swamp Green Team and worked with local churches and utilities to get houses insulated to save money and reduce carbon emissions.
He and Dr. Zirbel started working together on RNA bioinformatics in 1999 when they jointly supervised an undergraduate chemistry and mathematics double major who went on to earn a Goldwater Scholarship. In 2020, another joint student earned a Goldwater Scholarship. Together they wrote 27 research papers and worked together to supervise 12 Ph.D. students in Biology and in Statistics. You can read a remembrance written by Dr. Zirbel and his obituary.
Award to a Doctoral Student
Doctoral recipient Suthakaran Ratnasingam was awarded the 2020 Graduate College Distinguished Dissertation Award. The committee found his dissertation, "Sequential Change-Point Detection in Linear Regression and Linear Quantile Regression Models Under High Dimensionality," to be an "outstanding and sophisticated example of scholarly research." He was under the supervision of Dr. Wei Ning.
Jim Albert retired in May of 2020 after more than 40 years of service to the department and the university. In 1979, after earning his Ph.D. in statistics from Purdue University, he joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Jim Albert was recognized as a Distinguished University Professor in 2018. He has been a stalwart member of the department helping to drive our department to quality research and teaching. He has greatly contributed to the Data Science program in the department.
Barbara Christman was a full-time instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at BGSU from 2008-2013. After teaching as an adjunct instructor in the department for one year (2014-2015), she returned as a full-time instructor in 2016. She was a committed member of the department teaching mathematical courses until she retired in May of 2020. Barbara obtained her bachelor's degree in education in 1973 and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in 1984, both from BGSU.
Alex Izzo joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 1994 and retired in August of 2020 after 26 years of service to the department and the university. He has been a committed member of the department pursuing external funds. His research record is strong with many publications in very top mathematical journals. He has been consistently awarded external research funds for his outstanding research activities.
Math and Stat Department Scholarships and Awards in 2021
Dimitris Papathanasiou (Ph.D., math, 2017). After being a postdoctoral fellow with two of the top researchers in linear dynamics, K. Grosse-Erdmann (Mons, Belgium) and F. Bayart (Clermont Ferrand, France), Dimitris joined the Euler Mathematical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow under Anton Baranov. Dimitris already has eight articles published in top journals in Analysis, including Advances in Mathematics, the Journal of Functional Analysis, the Israel Journal of Mathematics, the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and its Applications, the Canadian Journal of Mathematics, and the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society.
Audry Alabiso (Ph.D., statistics, 2020) is a data scientist with Progressive Casualty Insurance.
Olivia Atutey (Ph.D., statistics, 2020) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of South Alabama.
Samuel Carolus (Ph.D., algebra, 2019) had a visiting assistant professor position at Ohio Northern University from 2019 until July 2021. He has four publications since graduating. Sam just started his new job as an Applied Research Mathematician for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Wentao Ge (Ph.D., statistics, 2019) is a statistician for RevSpring.
Nelum Hapuhinna (Ph.D., statistics, 2021) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Jinzhu Jiang (Ph.D., statistics, 2021) is a modeling analyst at Geico Insurance.
Jacob Laubacher (Ph.D., algebra, 2017) is a tenure-track assistant professor at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. Jacob has nine publications and one preprint. This year he is applying for tenure and promotion at St. Norbert College. (Good luck Jake!)
Yi-Ching Lee (Ph.D., statistics, 2019) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Southeast Missouri State University.
Logan Opperman (Ph.D., statistics, 2019) is a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.
Paul T. Schrader (Ph.D., algebra, 2018) is a tenure-track assistant professor at Southern Arkansas University. Paul has three publications, and he collaborates on two NSF grants. He attended the U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program in 2020 and 2021.
Patrick Stewart (Ph.D., statistics, 2020) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Millersville University, Millersville, PA.
Suthakaran Ratnasingam (Ph.D., statistics, 2020) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at California State University, San Bernardino, CA.
Sima Sharghi (Ph.D., statistics, 2021) is Postdoc Fellow in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY.
Ampalavanar Nanthakumar earns Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Ampalavanar Nanthakumar earned his bachelor’s degree in math/statistics from the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka, a master’s in statistics from Bowling Green State University in 1984, and a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Kentucky.
Nanthakumar is a mathematics professor at State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego and was recently awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing his exemplary skills as an educator, dedication to students, and contributions to the field of statistics. “Professor Nanthakumar has excellent communication skills with an impeccable teaching record at SUNY Oswego,” wrote his nominator, Kamal I. Mohamed, a biology professor and director of Rice Creek Field Station. “As an instructor, he can motivate, inspire, encourage and identify with students. Students in his classes described him as caring, fair and encouraging, enthusiastic and well prepared.”
"Nanthakumar also has provided great service by supervising more 50 student projects in capstones, independent study projects, Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee Challenge Grants and internships, some of which resulted in published research in peer-reviewed journals," Mohamed said. "Nanthakumar," he added, "is known for staying connected with students, many of whom go to graduate school and related professional positions, demonstrating an exemplary level of commitment and care."
SUNY economics professor Elizabeth Schmitt noted that Nanthakumar “has used his time and talents to develop the quantitative skills of hundreds of students, supporting their success in a variety of disciplines, while mentoring students in advanced study as an active scholar in his discipline.” He has taught 14 different classes in his time at Oswego, with a particular specialization in probability and statistics.
Updated: 09/01/2023 01:26PM