Richard Charnigo, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Public Health (CPH), and co-investigator Cidambi Srinivasan, PhD, professor in the UK Department of Statistics, received a $50,000 grant from the Army Research Office to continue development of an innovative nonparametric statistical methodology known as compound estimation. One application of this methodology involves analyzing the patterns created when laser irradiation is dispersed by nanoparticles, which are too small to observe with a microscope. These scatter patterns form a unique “signature” that provides the research team with the ability to determine the composition and other characteristics of nanoparticles.
This transdisciplinary project will extend the compound estimation technique from two variables to several. The nanoparticle application will entail analyzing data collected from specialized instrumentation operated by co-investigator Mathieu Francoeur, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah. This instrumentation can ascertain the patterns of light scattered by nanoparticles non-invasively and in real time. Francoeur also has a UK connection, having completed his doctoral studies under M. Pinar Menguc, PhD, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at UK, with whom Charnigo and Srinivasan have also collaborated.
Compound estimation potentially could be applied not only to engineering research and development projects involving the fabrication of materials, such as the current project whose long-term goal is to expedite production of nanoscale-gap thermophotovoltaic power generators, but also to medical testing like breast cancer diagnosis via Raman spectroscopy.
“Statisticians in academic settings develop brand new ideas and methods, such as in this project that combines original statistical and engineering research,” Charnigo said. “Despite a perception that statistics is about selecting an appropriate technique for data analysis, there really is a lot more to what statisticians do.”
In addition to the department of biostatistics, the UK CPH is home to the departments of preventive medicine and environmental health, health behavior, health services management, epidemiology, and gerontology as well as the Public Health Leadership Institute, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention, the Center for Public Health Systems and Services Research, the Council on Aging, and the Kentucky Rural Cancer Prevention Center. Founded in 2004, the CPH is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and offers programs in which students can earn the following degrees: a Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.); a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, gerontology, health behavior, or health services management; a Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) in epidemiology, gerontology, health behavior, or health services management; a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in gerontology or epidemiology/biostatistics; and dual MD/MPH and PharmD/MPH. Please visit http://www.mc.uky.edu/publichealth/index.html to learn more about the CPH’s research and degree programs.
For More Information:
Margaret McGladrey, MA
Research Administrative Coordinator
University of Kentucky
College of Public Health
111 Washington Ave. Room 104E
Lexington, KY 40536