News & Events

Optimizing Transplantation Systems

By Brian Sandalow

Northwestern Engineering Magazine, Spring 2022


To produce optimal outcomes, kidney transplantation systems require a complex mix of medical and logistical procedures to be completed quickly, efficiently, and skillfully. With the greatest speed possible, a medical team must harvest the organ, determine how suitable it is for transplant, find the right donor, and deliver it there—a process mired in protocols and hampered by geography.

The potential implications for improving the process are big. In 2021, according to, 90,483 people needed a kidney transplant. Only 24,670 received one.

Professor Sanjay Mehrotra uses analytical modeling, data science, and machine learning to optimize kidney transplantation systems by creating new processes to determine which organs are suitable for transplant and who the best recipient will be. With colleagues from Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, the RAND Corporation, Duke University, and Yale University, he hopes to change the transplant system in the United States, making it more efficient while wasting fewer donated organs.

In an effort funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Mehrotra collaborates closely with individuals who have held leadership roles at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national organization that seeks to develop policies and procedures that improve the organ transplant and donation process. The final deliverable of this patient-centered project will be a scientifically validated policy structure that over five years could save 5,000 to 7,500 lives from among the nearly 100,000 patients on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant.


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How the Chicago Marathon Will Keep Track of 1.7 Million People

By Michele Gorman On 10/5/16 at 10:10 AM Tech & Science

As more than 40,000 runners prepare this year to toe the line at the Chicago Marathon on October 9, Northwestern University engineering professor Karen Smilowitz and her team of students are set to monitor the event with a data-visualization system that will display a detailed breakdown of the race as it unfolds. Learn more Here

Professor Sanjay Mehrotra Selected INFORMS Fellow

IEMS Professor Sanjay Mehrotra has been selected as an INFORMS Fellow, Class of 2016. "INFORMS Fellow are examples of outstanding lifetime achievement in operations research and the management sciences. They have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments and made significant contributions to the advancement of OR/MS over a period of time." Professor Mehrotra will be honored at the upcoming INFORMS Annual Meeting award ceremony in Nashville.

Professor Sanjay Mehrotra to lead ground breaking panel at INFORMS annual conference in Nashville

Professor Sanjay Mehrotra will lead a panel of doctors at the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) National Conference in Nashville on November 13, 2016 at 1:30pm. The panel is entitled “Challenges and Lessons Learned from Influencing Policy Change in Organ Transplant.” Learn more HERE

Ilya Mikhelson named winner of 2016 Cole-Higgins Awards

Mikhelson, who specializes in signal and image processing, machine learning, and circuit and system design, was lauded for his approachableness, enthusiasm, and dedication to students.
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Engineers Assist Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Technology

Thousands of participants in this Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon will run the race as marathon organizers, with key assistance from a Northwestern University and Chicago Marathon research team, will utilize big data — both historic and real-time — to supply a comprehensive picture of the race as it unfolds.
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