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Project Descriptions 2019

Utility of Down Syndrome Specialty Clinics - Dr. Heidi Berger

This project focuses on analyzing access to health care for individuals with Down syndrome. Currently, there are 58 Down Syndrome specialty clinics across the country in 32 different states. It is estimated that 4-5% of eligible patients are enrolled in specialty clinics. We want to better understand the value added for participation in this coordinated care setting.

In Summer 2016, Bryan Summer research students approached this question nationwide, identifying large-scale regions of inaccessibility and proposing new clinic locations. In Sum- mer 2018, Bryan Summer research students administered a survey that asked families ques- tions about their experiences in a Down syndrome specialty clinic.

Our current project builds on these past two projects. A new survey is being administered nationally and we will clean these data, conduct exploratory data analyses, and hopefully create predictive models from these data. This work will be in conjunction with Anne Kohler, a graduate student in medical anthropology at the University of Connecticut.

Random Knot Theory - Dr. Katherine Vance

Informally, a knot is a closed loop in three-dimensional space - think of a tangled-up piece of string with its ends glued together to form a continuous loop. Because there are infinitely many ways to tangle up a piece of string, the set of knots is infinite. The fundamental problem of knot theory is to understand the structure of this infinite set. One way mathematicians do this is by using knot invariants, which allow us to distinguish different knots from each other. (Perhaps surprisingly, it is not necessarily easy to tell whether two knots are the same or different!)

This group will ask the question, “What does a random knot look like?” We will use grid diagrams (a way of representing knots) to generate random knots and then use statistical tools in R to analyze the resulting data. Students in this group will develop and hone data science skills while answering questions like, “Can we even expect that a random knot is knotted?”