MTBI 4 Minute Promo V8 0

"This is certainly the best research I’ve ever done, and probably the best work I’ve ever put forward."

"I enjoyed meeting people of very diverse backgrounds, and I learned a lot about modeling, leadership and teamwork."

"The summer meant a lot to me, making me gain a better perspective of my future academic goals.  It helped me to realize how lax my school work is compared to itself."

"MTBI is much more than a summer program.  It is one of the most productive uses of time I have experienced.  I feel much more prepared for grad school and my future career."

"This has given me a taste of what it will take to survive in a high intensity academic environment.  Huge impact on self-motivation and determination."

"If I have an opportunity to participate in the program again, I am very lucky; I can learn even more new ideas."

The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) is a summer research experience for undergraduates (REU), dedicated to preparing undergraduate students, specifically underrepresented minorities, for the challenges of graduate school-level research in biology and applied mathematics. Selected students are invited to Arizona State University for roughly eight weeks, where their time is split between classroom instruction on research methods and hands-on research projects.  At MTBI, students select their own research topics, not faculty.  By the end of the summer, students have completed a high-quality technical report and research poster, which are presented at national conferences to an audience of their peers and colleagues.

  MTBI at a glance

  • Since 1996, MTBI has enrolled 439 first-time undergraduate students and 76 advanced (returning) students.
  • MTBI students have completed 185 technical reports (found here)
  • 85% of our first-time undergraduate students are U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • 260 (70%) are underrepresented minorities (Hispanic, African-American and Native American students).
  • 70% of U.S. MTBI student participants had enrolled in graduate or professional school programs
  • 101 US MTBI student participants have completed their Ph.Ds.
  • MTBI was honored by the White House with the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), recognizing our commitment to STEM mentoring.


MTBI was originally established in 1996 at Cornell University by Dr. Carlos Castillo-Chavez, before it was moved to Arizona State University in the spring of 2004.  MTBI funding was provided by Cornell University and Los Alamos National Laboratory (T-Division) from 1996-2004.  Currently, MTBI is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Security Agency (NSA), Arizona State University and the Office of the Executive Vice-President and Provost of the University.  The high level of financial and administrative support provided by ASU to MTBI is a reflection of the serious commitment to recruitment and retention efforts within the fields of mathematics and science.