Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"CPIP: Contact Network Modeling for Improving the Effectiveness of Colorectal Cancer Screening"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2011 - CPIP
Research area(s):
CPIP: Mathematical Programming, Systems Sciences and Engineering
Project Description:
Have you heard of notion of small world? Whenever you logon your facebook page or MSN messager, do you wonder how you are connected with other people? As one systems engineering approach to study networks with dynamic interactions, contact network modeling is an analytic framework that intuitively captures the diverse host interactions that underlie knowledge dissemination. In this project, we'd like to apply contact network modeling to investigate the impact knowledge dissemination to colorectal cancer prevention. A simple example is that effective knowledge dissemnination has shown the increase of adherence rate to screening. With contact network modeling, the first step is to build a realistic network model of contact patterns at an appropriate temporal and spatial scale. The second step is to predict the spread of understanding of early cancer screening through the resulting network, based on intrinsic features of communication means and the network structure. I, a professor at Biomedical Engineering with expertise in mathematical modeling and quantitative analysis in health systems engineering, will team up with researchers from communications and civil engineering. From this project, you are expected to get some understanding of how to apply systems science and engineering to the public health domain. You are also expected to familiarize yourself with several fundamental modeling techniques for nonlinear, heterogenous, and large-scale systems, including compartment modeling, contact network modeling, and agent-based modeling.
Expected Student Contributions:
I envision the intern will contribute to our research group in several aspects. 1. learn necessary background knowledge on contact network modeling and differentiate contact network modeling with compartment modeling and agent-based modeling. Through weekend meetings, you are expected to share your findings with other research group members. 2. build a contact network model for a colorectal cancer screening program and identify intrinsic network structural features. In-depth literature review is needed in cancer screening communication and systems modeling. 3. conduct basic mathematical analysis that is expected to pave the way for more sophasicated analysis by your graduate student mentor. 4. document your research activities and initial findings for 1-2 journal paper publication at the end.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA >= 3.5 (all math courses should be at least A-, exceptions may be allowed) good C/C++ and/or Matlab coding ability. Have experience in large-scale coding in engineering disciplines, preferably in computer simulation projects. Highly motivated.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 4 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Kong, Nan
biomedical engineering

Student Supervisor

Yu Teng
Graduate Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Torsten Reimer
Department of Communication
Lanshan Han
School of Civil Engineering