Nisu Patel, a 19-year-old junior, has spent his time outside class working in a research lab on Homewood Campus. He tells us how he thinks computational sciences are the key to understanding and treating diseases in the future.
The News-Letter: What lab do you work in?
Nisu Patel: I work in the Neuromedical Control Lab headed by Dr. Sridevi Sarma in the Institute for Computational Medicine within the Department of Biomedical Engineering. I have been working there for a little under a year.
N-L: What does your research entail?
NP: I work on the computational detection of sepsis. Sepsis is a dangerous level of whole body inflammation. And currently, the only way to detect sepsis is once it’s a clinic problem, and we are trying to push the detection point to hours, days, even weeks, before that.
N-L: Why do you like it?
NP: I like it because it has shown me a very applicable part of computational work. It translates directly to the clinical. It’s especially important because every hour there’s a delay in treatment of sepsis, there’s a six percent rise in mortality.
N-L: Have the classes you have taken been relevant to your research work?
NP: Yes! The class most relevant has been Introduction to Statistics because the way we approach the issue is basically by throwing data out there and seeing what we find. Statistics allowed me to correctly figure out what tests to use and differentiate between what’s important and what could be just an anomaly in the data.
N-L: What has been the biggest take-away so far?
NP: My biggest take-away is the realization that most of the diseases left now to treat and diagnose are ones that have multiple causes and that there are specifically ones good to handle through computational sciences. It’s interesting to know that while it’s a gigantic problem, progress can still be made very fast — like within 10 months — so it’s exciting to know that there is a lot more change to come in the future.