Carlos Castillo-Chavez (born 1952) is the current Rector at Yachay Tech University, in Ecuador, a newly founded research intensive university. Formerly he was the Regents Professor, and Joaquín Bustoz, Jr. Professor of Mathematical Biology at Arizona State University and the executive director of the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute and Institute for Strengthening the Understanding of Mathematics and Science as well as the founding director of the Mathematical, Computational Modeling Sciences Center at the same university.
Castillo-Chavez came to the United States from Mexico in 1974, at the age of 22, and began working at a cheese factory in Wisconsin to support himself. He then returned to his mathematics studies by applying to the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, where he graduated in 1976, with dual degrees in math and Spanish literature. He continued his MS in Mathematics at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1984). Prior to moving to Arizona State University in 2004, he spent 18 years as a professor at Cornell University. He has published scientific articles, and books, and served on panels and committees for organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the American Mathematical Society.
His research interests as a mathematical epidemiologist relate to the mechanisms underlying the spread of disease, and their containment (prevention of spread) and elimination. A 2006 editorial at Arizona State University, a year after his arrival there, described him as one of the most prominent mathematicians in the country, an expert in epidemiological modelling, and among the top research contributors to literature on the progression of diseases. He is acclaimed for his work on enhancing prospects for academic success and providing research opportunities for underrepresented groups in mathematics and biology.
Awards & recognitions
He has won awards by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award and Fellow (2007), the Stanislaw M. Ulam Distinguished Scholar by the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2003), the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Distinguished Scientist Award (2001), the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (1997), and the Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award from the National Science Foundation and the Office of the President of the United States (1992–1997). In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
He was a member of the Board of Higher Education at the National Academy of Sciences (2009-2015) and served in President Barack Obama's Committee on the National Medal of Science (2010-2015).
He is the inaugural recipient of the inaugural Dr. William Yslas, Outstanding STEM Award, by Victoria Foundation Award, co-sponsored by the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona (2015). Castillo-Chavez has been elected as a Member-at-Large of the Section on Mathematics of the AAAS (2016 through 2020).
On February 24, 2016, the University Francisco Gavidia inaugurated the Centro de Modelaje Matemático Carlos Castillo-Chavez, in the City of San Salvador, in the Republic of El Salvador and has been appointed to NSF’s Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources (2016-2019). He has been named George Polya Lecturer by the MAA 2017.
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