Josic Awarded Simons Fellowship in Mathematics

One of 40 Recipients in 2015

Krešimir Josić, professor of mathematics at the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is one of 40 U.S. and Canadian faculty awarded a 2015 Simons Fellowship in Mathematics. He is the only recipient from a Texas university.

Krešimir Josić
Krešimir Josić
For his fellowship, Josić will spend the 2015-2016 academic year visiting the lab of Matthew Bennett, a synthetic biologist at Rice University. Josić will work on developing mathematical models to guide the design of synthetic microbes.

“Advances in experimental techniques are leading to unprecedented insights into the workings of biological systems. At the same time, synthetic biologists are now able to design and control cellular machinery,” Josić said. “We will need to develop new mathematical tools hand in hand with new experimental techniques to push this research further.”

Josić has an ongoing collaboration with Bennett. The two have worked jointly to engineer and model synthetic organisms that can compensate for changes in temperature and display preprogrammed dynamics. The team’s next goal is to engineer microbial populations that interact in controlled ways.

Through this sabbatical, Josić will be able to participate closely in the experimental design and data analysis. “A closer involvement with experiments will help me in the development of new mathematical models,” he said.

The Simons Foundation’s Fellows Program provides funds for up to a semester-long research leave from classroom teaching and administrative obligations, making it easier to extend sabbatical leave by an extra half year. The Foundation’s program is designed to “increase creative productivity and provide intellectual stimulation.”

According to the Foundation’s website, the most important criterion for receiving a Simons Fellows award is the potential for research accomplishment, as judged by accomplishments over the last five years.

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics