Blog Post

Rho Participates in Innovative Graduate Student Workshop for 5th Year

August 4, 2015

For the fifth consecutive summer, Rho participated in the Industrial Math/Stat Modeling Workshop for Graduate Students (IMSM) hosted by the National Science Foundation-supported Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI). The workshop, a joint program of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, introduces graduate students in mathematics, engineering, and statistics to real-world challenges arising in industrial and government laboratory research. IMSM students are divided into teams and are given 10 days to collaborate on a solution to a “real world” problem presented by the participating corporate and government research teams.

2015 IMSM Participants

For the 2015 workshop, Rho was one of five ‘problem’ presenters that included the EPA, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Rho was represented at the workshop by CEO Dr. Russ Helms, Vice President and Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Herman Mitchell, and Senior Statistical Scientist, Agustin Calatroni.  With the assistance of Dr. Emily Lei Kang from the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Calatroni worked with math and stat graduate students from various universities around the country on a complex “big data” problem related to microbial exposures in U.S. homes of children with asthma.  The Inner City Asthma Consortium, a national multi-center National Institutes of Health project coordinated by Rho, has been exploring the impact of more than 50,000 specific bacteria found in homes and how this community of bacteria (the “microbiome”) influences a child’s immune system so that it may protect against, or promote, the development of asthma.  The students developed statistical and mathematical models to examine how home characteristics and behaviors determine the microbial exposure mix observed in the families’ homes.

We are proud to continue this annual partnership with IMSM for a fifth year.  This collaboration between exceptional students and faculty is another way we are applying cutting edge mathematical and statistical techniques to solve real world problems and advance our knowledge of human diseases.

You can visit the IMSM Workshop website to learn more about the program, including the problem Rho presented and the students’ solution (our team report begins on page 89).