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2010 CompX Winners

Winners of the 2010-2011 Neukom Institute CompX Faculty Grants Program for Dartmouth faculty have been announced with awards of up to $20,000 for one-year projects.

The program seeks to fund both the development of novel computational techniques as well as the application of computational methods to research across the campus and professional schools.

Dartmouth College faculty including the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools were eligible to apply for these competitive grants. This years winners are:

Subject-specific Finite Element Modeling for Mechanisms of Sports-related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Dartmouth Athletes

Songbai Ji (Thayer) and Thomas McAllister, M.D. (DMS)

imageMild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a major public health problem in the United States with more than 1.1 million victims and a cost of $17 billion each year. Sports-related concussion is one of the primary causes of MTBI, with an estimated 300,000 victims every year nation-wide (CDC). The short- and long-term effects of sports concussions and sub-concussive impacts are not known, nor are the cumulative effects of repeated injuries understood.

This research will improve our understanding of the injury mechanism by (i) creating subject-specific FEM head models based on the athletes' own MRI images, (ii) imposing subject-specific on-field impact exposure data and (iii) comparing DTI parameters of axonal integrity in regions of high and low maximum strain (predicted by the FEM model) as a means of validating the model. Successful completion of this pilot study will generate sufficient preliminary results in support of a more extensive research proposal funded through extramural sources such as the NIH.

This CompX grant was seed for external funding for a NOCSAE grant of $950,000 for 2 years.

Journal publications:

S.Ji, J.C. Ford, R.M. Greenwald, J.G. Beckwith, K.D. Paulsen, L.A. Flashman, T.W. McAllister, "Automated subject-specific, hexahedral mesh generation via image registration," Finite Elements in Analysis and Design, 2011 (in press).

Maximum Principal Strain Associated With Concussion Correlates With Change in Corpus Callosum White Matter Indices: A Proof of Concept Pilot Study. (in preparation)

Conference presentation:

S. Ji, R. Greenwald, J. Beckwith, J. Ford, T. McAllister, M.D. "Person Specific FE Head Model vs. 50th Percentile Male: Does One Size Fit All?" National Neurotrauma Symposium, June 14 - 17, 2010. Las Vagas, Nevada.   

Development of Hidden Markov Models for Evolutionary Genomics

Andrew Kern (Biology)

Kern Figure 2Since completion of the draft sequence of the human genome, the discovery and characterization of human genetic variation has been a principal focus for genomics. This is an important goal for biology, because through the study of human genomic variation we can begin to understand what factors make each of us morphologically, physiologically, and behaviorally unique. Recently the use of Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) in computational molecular biology has expanded. Hidden Markov Models are a popular class of machine learning algorithms that have been used with great success to derive insights about hidden parameters underlying data.

This project involves implementing a Crank-Nicolson algorithm for numerically calculating solutions to a non-homogenous diffusion to get expected allele frequency distributions, and then implementing the Fletcher-Reeves-Polak-Ribiere optimization routine for maximization (Press et al. [1992]) of a resulting likelihood equation. While well known, this is not a trivial problem given that such maximization will be folded into an EM algorithm that we have developed for unsupervised learning within population genetic HMMs (Kern and Haussler [2010]).

Journal publications:

Recurrent adaptation in RNA-interference genes across the Drosophila phylogeny

Genomic Differentiation Between Temperate and Tropical Australian Populations of Drosophila melanogaster


Dan Kotlowitz (Theater), Ford Evans (Theater), Peter Hackett (Theater) and Lorie Loeb (Computer Science)

imageWe will use the CompX Grant to develop and explore methods of using digital media in live theater. Historically, projected images have been used in the theater to create physical geography behind the performers.
We plan to explore the potential for digitally projected light to create movement, color, lines, shapes and textures that are immediately responsive to the fluid nature of dramatic action and narrative.

In conjunction with the Hopkins Center and undergraduate students from the arts and sciences, we will be creating a new work called Viscera, a multi- disciplinary production synthesizing performing arts, visual arts, digital arts and computer science. Viscera will explore the hidden secrets of war through dance, animation, digital projection, text and light. Ultimately, our exploration of digital projection will extend far beyond this production of Viscera. We anticipate that the Department will utilize this emerging design field in the majority of its future productions and will certainly develop curriculum to support student interest.  Video

Last Updated: 10/2/13