The primary goal of the conference is to offer undergraduates the opportunity to attend and actively participate in a professional mathematics meeting and to discuss mathematics with their peers. Attendees may apply to give a 15 minute talk or submit a poster.
Integration Bee Update: Undergraduate students are invited to compete in an integration bee as a part of the conference, with a prize going to the winner! If you are interested in participating, please plan on arriving prior to 9:00 am, at which time we will have a qualifier to determine who will be participating in the bee in the afternoon.
Deadline for submission of Student Abstracts is TBA (usually in March) 2014.
Funding for SDUMC is provided by NSF grant DMS-0846477 through the MAA Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences program, www.maa.org/RUMC.
Dr. Diana Thomas
Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research,
Montclair State University, New Jersey.
Mathematically modeling the influence of eating rates on weight gain and obesity
Eating bite rate studies have long established that obese subjects eat faster than the lean. Based on these data, mindful eating interventions and even food design to slow eating have been advanced to the public. However, the studies that form the basis for these interventions are 1) conducted in laboratory settings 2) are observational and not randomized controlled trials testing whether slowing eating bite rates in fact reduces weight and 3) are limited to one meal or one type of food 4) are conducted in small numbers of subjects. Past studies were limited because investigators needed to directly measure bite rates using laboratory devices. Moreover, analysis of the resulting data was relegated to fitting by lines or quadratic polynomials. I first will present the validity of the relationship between eating rates and obesity status from data obtained from a recently developed portable sensor that records eating bite rates through a wrist worn watch. Next, I will present a new model for cumulative eating curves using a mechanistic differential equation model consisting of three parameters. The new model normalizes eating behavior and allows us to not only compare eating patterns between populations, but to distinguish which groups are most at risk for weight gain.
Dr. Diana Thomas is a professor of mathematics and director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Her research involves applications of mathematics to guide patient behavior during weight loss and prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Dr. Thomas’ models combine data collected from clinical trials involving human body weight regulation stretching back over a century to arrive at mathematically driven conclusions. Some of the questions she is investigating are “Why do individuals not lose more weight during exercise?”, “How can we objectively monitor diet in humans?”, and “What explains differences in weight change between individuals?” Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fitness Magazine, Good Housekeeping, CBS News, and ABC News. She currently serves as an editor of The Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Research and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Thomas frequently collaborates on research projects with undergraduate students and was recently awarded the MAA-NJ Distinguished Teaching Award.