UCR math professor wins prestigious Fulbright scholarship

Author: Jules Bernstein
February 17, 2023

Mark Alber

Mark Alber, distinguished mathematics professor and director of UCR’s Center for Quantitative Modeling in Biology, has been selected for a Fulbright scholar award as a reflection of his leadership and contributions to society. 

The Fulbright is the government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is awarded by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Alber joins a network of thousands of esteemed scholars and leaders in their fields. Alumni include 61 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 40 who have served as a head of state or government. 

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Alber and other Fulbrighters will engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing collaborations started abroad and laying groundwork for future partnerships between institutions. 

Alber’s research combines modeling and experiments to generate and test new hypotheses relevant to biology. His interdisciplinary group at UCR has developed models of embryo development, plant growth, blood clot formation and deformation, and bacterial swarming. 

His Fulbright award will support Alber in an extended visit to the Mathematical Institute at Leiden University in The Netherlands. There he and his collaborators will study how genetic, mechanical, and physical interactions between stem cells in an animal embryo or in a growing plant contribute to tissue form, size, function, and maintenance. They will develop multi-scale models and artificial intelligence approaches for studying these biological mechanisms of tissue development and growth. 

This research will be integrated with his teaching a course on this subject, new curriculum development, giving a public Kloosterman lecture, organization of a seminar, and a workshop. It will also establish a collaborative program between UCR and Leiden university. 

Alber earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and held several positions at the University of Notre Dame. He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 and came to UCR in 2016.

For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our world.

The award is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the state department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide support.