Research Projects

The following are examples of projects that the Center of Engineering and Health have conducted:

Bed Angle Detection in Hospital Room Using Microsoft Kinect V2

This research will focus on bed angle detection in hospital room automatically using the latest Kinect sensor. The developed system is an ideal application for nursing staff to monitoring the bed status for patient, especially under the situation that the patient is alone. The patient bed is reconstructed from point cloud data using polynomial plane fitting. The analysis to the detected bed angle could help the nursing staff to understand the potential developed hospital acquired infection (HAI) and the health situation of the patient, and acquire informative knowledge of the relation between bed angle and disease recovery to decide appropriate treatment strategy.

Highlight           Paper

Analysis of Kidney Transplant Centers in The United States

Currently, there are more than 570,000 patients suffering from End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in the United States. For most ESRD patients, the only known cure for their disease is a kidney transplant. The distance patients must travel to a kidney transplant center is predictive of the patient receiving a kidney transplant. This study analyzes the current geographic distance traveled by the ESRD population to 240 kidney transplant centers in the continental US, and is the first to use location theory to analyze where kidney transplant centers should optimally be located to increase geographic assess of patients to transplantation services.

Resident Rotation Policies and Continuity of Care in Vascular Surgery

Surgical residents often graduate with a limited set of operating room experiences. The experiences they do have are typically characterized by low "continuity of care," meaning that it's unlikely that for a given surgery the resident had never been involved in the patient's diagnosis. Simulation, empirical studies, and an analytical model show that this is due to several easily remedied logistical conundrums as well as short resident rotation lengths.

Contact Tracing to Control Infectious Diseases

Contact tracing is a primary means of controlling infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus, and sexually transmitted diseases. The effectiveness of contact tracing depends on a number of factors including the contact tracing policy used, the social mixing network, and characteristics of the disease (e.g., the transmission mechanism, variability in infectiousness over time and across individuals, and the rate at which symptoms develop). We develop a simulation model for contact tracing and use it to explore the effectiveness of different contact tracing policies in a budget-constrained setting. We evaluate several alternative contact tracing policies, introduce a cost-effectiveness framework and show how it can be used to determine the optimal level of investment in contact tracing.

Inference on Gene Regulation

Proteins are the primary regulatory agents of transcription even though mRNA expression data alone, from systems like DNA microarrays, are widely used. In addition, the regulation process in genetic systems is inherently non-linear in nature, and most studies employ a time-course analysis of mRNA expression. These considerations should be taken into account in the development of methods for the inference of regulatory interactions in genetic networks.

Formulating Adaptive Radiation Therapy (ART) Treatment Planning into a Closed-Loop Control Framework

While ART has been studied for years, the specific quantitative implementation details have not. In order for this new scheme of radiation therapy (RT) to reach its potential, an effective ART treatment planning strategy capable of taking into account the dose delivery history and the patient’s on-treatment geometric model must be in place. This paper performs a theoretical study of dynamic closed-loop control algorithms for ART and compares their utility with data from phantom and clinical cases.

Adding Extrinsic Goals to the QALY Model

Methods for evaluating health quality are central to medical cost-effectiveness analyses. The most important such method is the quality-adjusted life year (or QALY), in which a patient's length of life is given weight proportional to quality of health. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that the correlation between measured QALYs and a patient's current health is at best modest. Moreover, it is known that individuals may trade lifetime for improved health quality when remaining lifetime is long, but not when it is short; and that those with poor health quality may prefer to survive only until important life milestones are achieved and no longer. To address these concerns, the investigators will examine methods for incorporating life goals into health preference models.