Photo credit: Devin Bittner
Academic Appointments and Honors
- Fellow of the Society for Mathematical Biology, awarded 2023
SMB Fellow Awardees
- Tam Family Professor of Mathematics, 2019-2025
- Distinguished Research Professor, awarded 2019
- Marion Bradley Brennan Professor of Mathematics, 2015-2018
- Director of Biomathematics Program, FSU, 2010-present
- Professor of Biomathematics, FSU, 2009-present
- Graduate Faculty Member, Molecular Biophysics Program,
- Graduate Faculty Member, Neuroscience Program,
- NIH R01 DK 080714: Four-year award for
"Microfluidic Devices for Determining Dynamics of Islets of Langerhans",
Mike Roper (PI), Richard Bertram, 2022-2026.
- NSF DMS 2324962: Three-year award for
"New Approaches for Interpreting Neural Responses to Behaviorally-Relevant Sensory Stimuli",
Richard Bertram (PI), Tom Needham, Martin Bauer, Roberto Vincis, 2023-2026.
- Navy Medicine award N626451920001: Two-year subcontract for
"Mathematical Analysis of Transcriptomic, Proteomic, and Metabolomic
Biomarker Signatures in Septic Cohorts",
Richard Bertram (PI), 2023-2024.
Current Research Interests
Activity of Pancreatic Beta-Cells
Pancreatic Beta-cells are located in islets of Langerhans in the pancreas and
are the only cells in the body that
secrete insulin, a hormone that is necessary for the uptake of glucose
by other cells. Defects in beta-cell functioning lead to diabetes, which
can result in death if not treated. The release of insulin is controlled
by many physiological variables, including the cell's electrical activity,
calcium, and nucleotide concentrations. I work in the development and
analysis of mathematical models of beta-cell activity as well as potential methods
for islet syncrhonization.
Hypothalamic Control of Hormone Secretion
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that regulates the level and
timing of hormone release from endocrine glands. One such gland, the pituitary,
is located near the hypothalamus, and secretions from this gland regulate
secretions from other glands. For this reason, the pituitary is sometimes called
the "master gland". The hypothalamus sends both stimulatory and inhibitory
input to the pituitary, resulting in neural regulation of secretion from
gonadotrophs, somatotrophs, corticotrophs, melanotrophs, and lactotrophs.
I develop mathematical models of pituitary cells, and work with collaborators
to test model predictions and design new experiments.
Bursting Oscillations in Excitable Cells
In nerve cells, information is transmitted through electrical impulses.
Electrical impulses also cause muscles to contract and endocrine cells
to secrete hormones. Quite often, impulses are generated as high-frequency
bursts, followed by periods of quiescence. This is particularly true in
endocrine cells such as pancreatic beta-cells and pituitary cells. I am
interested both in the dynamics of bursting (a mathematical topic) and in
the mechanisms by which different cells generate periodic bursts of
impulses (a biological topic).
Many biological systems can be described as networks of interconnected nodes.
I study these, in the context of neuroscience and gene transcription. In
particular, I look at networks of interconnected pituitary cells, each of
which is capable of bursting. The coupling is through gap junctions, so is
electrical in nature. I also look at networks of neurons, where the coupling
is through synapses and therefore chemical in nature. Finally, I am
involved in the development of new approaches for studying networks of gene
expression and neural spike trains.
Hypothalamus and Pituitary
Neural Basis of Birdsong
Students and Collaborators
Hypothalamus and Pituitary
Music and Math
Prof. Richard Bertram
Department of Mathematics
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Fl 32306
tel.: (850)-644-7632 (IMB office)