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Project Descriptions 2016

Location of Down Syndrome Specialty Care Facilities - Dr. Heidi Berger

This project focuses on the problem of determining locations for special care clinics for children with Down Syndrome. The aim is to maximize participation in these coordinated care settings. We will use an optimization technique to identify the optimal number and location of facilities that maximize participation. Currently, there are 58 Down Syndrome specialty clinics across the country in 32 different states. Approximately 4-5% of eligible patients are enrolled in specialty clinics. We assume that distance is a major determinant in participation and people would go to the closest facility for preventative health care.

Our group will also be working with Dr. Amy Doling, a biologist at Simpson College, and Dr. Brian Skotko, a medical geneticist and co-director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, to design a longitudinal study of the impacts of Down Syndrome specialty clinics on patients, families, and practitioners in the field.

Palmer Amaranth Project, Phase II - Dr. Rick Spellerberg

The development of Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides has allowed farmers to eliminate weeds without harming their crops. However, in recent years several strains of weeds have evolved at a rapid pace to become resistant to glyphosate. In particular, Palmer amaranth, a fast-growing herbicide-resistant weed, has begun spreading to Iowa farms.

During the Bryan Summer Research program last summer, an undergraduate research team developed a simulation that predicts the unchecked spread of Palmer amaranth across the state of Iowa. The results from this simulation have been well received. One of the goals for this summer will be to develop similar simulations for four neighboring corn belts states and to incorporate preventive measures into the simulations. This team of students will also be a part of a larger interdisciplinary team of Simpson College students that will be approaching this challenge from many different directions.