Name: Oscar Ortega
Mentor: Carlos Lopez
Hello!! I am Oscar Ortega from Colombia. I study physics at Los Andes University in Bogota, Colombia, there I work with Professor Juan Manuel Pedraza in systems biology and evolutionary game theory trying to find theoretical conditions for the evolution of cooperation and altruism at multilevel selection on bacterial populations. Besides working on my research and studying for classes, I practice Taekwondo, which is a martial art originally from Korea, and I also enjoy hanging out and having fun with my friends.
I decided to apply to VISRA because I considered it a great opportunity to explore how I could complement my quantitative skills by immersing in a strong biomedical one of the best experiences I’ve ever had because I have learned how to work at a research lab and at the same time I have met wonderful people from all around the world.
During this summer I have had the fortune of working with Professor Carlos F. Lopez in a very interesting project which consists of developing an algorithm to tropicalize (yes you read it right, tropical geometry is a branch of algebraic geometry and bear this name in honor to a Brazilian mathematician) a system of differential equations that represent a nonlinear biological network in order to obtain qualitative stable features of the system's dynamics. These obtained characteristics of the systems could help to understand and solve the problem of incomplete or imprecise information on the kinetic parameters of the biological networks.
Finally, I would like to say that I really like Nashville because people here is very kind and friendly, and I would also like to say thanks to Vanderbilt University for this great opportunity through the VISRA program.
*Oscar enters Vanderbilt's Quantitative and Chemical Biology Program in Fall 2014 and will be supported by the Vanderbilt International Scholar Program for the next two years.