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Florida State University


The Marching Chiefs as Pied Piper—the band's music lured Rudolph Arceo to Florida State. But then a first-semester Biology course opened his eyes to another love, one that he never expected—research. He says, "Since then I have been given the opportunity to perform research with experts. Research and rigorous academia have kept me at Florida State."

In 2005, Rudolph won a Fellowship in Mathematical and Computational Biology from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, giving him "the chance to do intensive research here at FSU under the direction of Dr. Richard Bertram, a leading expert in the field."

Rudolph has extended this research for his Honors in the Major Thesis, "A Mathematical and Computational Study of Calcium Dynamics." He is looking at a model for calcium dynamics in beta cells. Upon an increase in glucose concentration, these specialized pancreas cells release insulin, which is mediated by calcium ions. Rudolph is mathematically determining how this mediation works. He can then computationally simulate a complete system to see how the dynamics of the calcium are working in the cell. He says, "Knowledge of these dynamics can help us gather further information about calcium's role in the cell, and what would hinder or help the cell to release insulin effectively."

At the first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Meeting of the Minds Symposium, Rudolph gave an oral presentation on his research entitled, "A Mathematical Study of Calcium Dynamics in Excitable Cells." It was a memorable experience for him. "I saw every ACC school present undergraduate research across all fields of study. It opened my eyes to research at other universities, as well as research going on right here at FSU."

At the start of summer, he received word that he had won the University's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award, which enabled him to continue his research in calcium dynamics, gaining more insight as to how this system works. The Award also afforded him the opportunity to attend a National Applied Mathematics Conference, where he was able to learn about work currently being done in this field.

Although Music still plays a large part in Rudolph's life, he plans to continue his research, studying medicine and oncology in an MD/PhD program.

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