Spencer Grant presents his poster at the end of the summer with the FDA.

“The long-term goal of the research project is to create a better process for constructing numerical models of the human body using MRI data.” —Spencer Grant

Spencer Grant ’19

Sherwood, Ore.

Computer science, pre-medical designation

I spent this past summer researching MRI safety with the FDA Division of Biomedical Physics in Maryland. The long-term goal of the research project is to create a better process for constructing numerical models of the human body using MRI data. These numerical models would provide an improved, patient-specific means to assess MRI safety, but it’s currently too inefficient to create the models for them to be used in practice.

Since I joined the project in its early stages, one of my jobs was to use current methods of manually generating a numerical model to determine the most efficient process available. I also looked into potential automated methods that we could explore to further optimize the process. I focused on generating a model for the knee in particular, since it is one of the most frequently imaged regions of the body, but my findings will eventually be extended to the rest of the body as well.

In addition to working on my own research project, this position gave me the opportunity to hear about the research being done by others at the FDA. Throughout my time there I had the chance to walk through a number of other labs and witness the research being done, and attended weekly meetings in which people would present on their projects. The summer culminated in a poster day for all the students there for the summer, which provided an opportunity both to talk about my own research and to ask other students about what they were working on.

I felt very well equipped for this experience thanks to my Macalester education. In addition to my coursework, Macalester has prepared me to work in an environment where I must ask a lot of questions and find creative approaches to solving problems, which was crucial for my research.

 

November 12 2018

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