COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics
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Mathematics Colloquium: There and Back Again: How a Control Theorist Journeyed from Elastic Systems to Biological Applications and Found Herself Returning to Her Roots


3:00pm Murrow 55

Dr. Mary Ann Horn

Abstract: Trained in a applied mathematics department, my graduate studies were in control theory with a focus on engineering applications with a strong theoretical bent. My work focused on boundary control of elastic systems, primarily plate equations, three-dimensional elasticity, and coupled elastic systems. The questions I addressed included issues of existence and uniqueness, as well as unique continuation, stability, and controllability, through the use of techniques from applied functional analysis and partial differential equations. Yet, as the years went by, I was drawn to problems in the biological sciences, and took advantage of opportunities for collaboration stemming from my time at Vanderbilt to use many of the modeling and analytical skills I developed in my earlier work to address questions about the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, as well as to study cellular signaling cascades in more complex systems. Ironically, although it initially seemed that these biological applications were leading away from my roots, questions of control consistently keep arising. This talk provides an overview of my research through the years.