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Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium - MLK Day

The Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium was established in 1999 in the Department of Mathematics in observance of Martin Luther King day. The colloquium brings a distinguished speaker to campus to present a talk that highlights their research but also addresses the issue of diversity in the sciences. It honors the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UM.

Marjorie Lee Browne received her B.S. in mathematics from Howard University (1935). She received her M.S. in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1939, making her one of the first few African American women with a graduate mathematics degree. Ms. Browne taught at Wiley College while continuing graduate work during the summers. She received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Michigan in 1950, making her Michigan’s first known African American woman mathematics Ph.D. recipient. Her thesis, “On the One Parameter Subgroups of Certain Topological and Matrix Groups”, was directed by Professor G. Y. Rainich.  

Dr. Browne taught at North Carolina Central University from 1949 until her death in 1979. She was the only faculty member with a Ph.D. for twenty five years, and a strong leader. She chaired the department from 1951 until 1970, supervised ten Masters theses, and inspired a generation of talented students to continue in mathematics. Dr. Browne also had a deep interest in continuing education for secondary school teachers. Under her leadership, the NSF funded a summer institute for secondary school teachers of mathematics for thirteen years, for which Dr. Browne also authored four sets of lecture notes. 

Source: Patricia C. Kenschaft “Black Women in Mathematics in the United States,” American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 88 (1981), 592-604.

2024 Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium (video of talk)

Date:     Monday, January 15, 2024

Room:   1324 East Hall, 530 Church Street

Time:     4:00 pm

Speaker:     Erika Tatiana Camacho
                     Manuel P. Berriozábal, Ph.D. and María Antonietta Berriozábal Endowed Chair
                     University of Texas at San Antonio
                     Departments of Mathematics and Neuroscience Developmental & Regenerative Biology

Title:  Decoding Vision: Unraveling Photoreceptor Vitality & Degeneration through Mathematics


This talk will provide a brief overview of my mathematical research in photoreceptor degeneration and vitality at both the cellular and molecular level as well as the interactions and feedback mechanisms within and between these levels. Mathematical modeling has been used to study diverse biological topics ranging from protein folding to cell interactions to interacting populations of humans but has only recently been used to study photoreceptor degeneration, which occurs in age-related maculardegeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). There are many different maladies that can result in blindness but the ones that result from photoreceptor degeneration pose the biggest threat as there is no cure. Computer (in silico) experiments in this area have given researchers invaluable insights to mitigate blindness and, in some cases, re-directed experimental research. My mathematical models, often developed in collaboration with experimental researchers and/or their data, investigate experimentally observed photoreceptor death and rescue in retinal degeneration, the complex interrelated metabolic pathways in cones, and the impact of administered neurotrophic factors. Dynamical systems, optimal control, uncertainty and sensitivity analysis together with in silico experiments are used to analyze these systems of nonlinear differential equations. This work highlights the delicate balance of many aspects of the photoreceptor system including the inter-dependent and inter-connected feedback processes modulated by and affecting cone’s metabolism. My work provides a framework for future physiological investigations potentially leading to long-term targeted multi-faceted interventions and therapies.

Link to Poster