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2019 NIMBioS-NSA REU Program Participant Profile:

Eniola Adewunmi

E. Adewunmi photo.

Hometown: Memphis, TN
School: University of Tennessee
Major/Degree and Year: Mathematics; Senior
SRE Mentors: Charles Collins and Alexiades Vasilios
SRE Research Project: Biochemical pathways for aerotaxis in motile bacteria

Why did you apply to the SRE program?
I wanted an opportunity to apply my mathematical and biological knowledge in real world cases. I also wanted to gain experience in research for future purposes.

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I get to experience what research feels like and how important teamwork is. I have also made amazing, life-long friends. Quotation image.
– Eniola Adewunmi, SRE participant

What is the purpose of your research?
Chemotaxis is the movement of a motile organism in a direction in response to varying concentrations of chemical gradients. A. brasilense uses aerotaxis, chemotaxis in an oxygen gradient. When receptors on the cell surface detect concentration gradients of chemoeffectors, the signal is sent to the flagella motor via two pathways. The connections of these two pathways are unknown. The purpose of this project is to use ordinary differential equation models that have been developed to generate possible pathways and connections among proteins that can produce realistic results.

Describe a typical day on the job.
My day starts at 8 a.m. I go over some research papers and try to find new ones. The group meets at 11 a.m. to run our codes and go over data together. During the first few weeks we were assigned rates which we changed in order to see their effects on the pathways. We meet with our mentors at 2 p.m. and discuss our findings. If nothing needs to be discussed with the mentors, we keep working until 3:30 p.m. I try to work eight hours a day, so I tend to run some more code later in the night. Some days we have tutorials in the morning. We also have lunch with our mentors sometimes and the mentors of other groups. We discuss their research and suggestions on what to do after college.

Tell us something about your field of study we would be surprised to know.
Mathematics is a very broad field. There are a lot of career paths one can pursue with a mathematics degree including and not limited to law, engineering, teaching, and medicine.

What were your favorite parts of the SRE program?
I get to experience what research feels like and how important teamwork is. I have also made amazing, life-long friends.

What new experiences did you gain that have helped you today?
How to interpret and present data to an audience that doesn't have knowledge of my research. I also have a better understanding of programming languages.

What advice would you give someone who's interested in/curious about participating in the program?
I would advise to take advantage of all the tutorials and talk to many mentors, ask about life after college. A lot of mentors are willing to set up meetings and give great advice.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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