‘That’s the Goal’: Turning Research into Real-World Impact
Pulkita Jain (CHE ’22): When I moved to the United States, the goal was to do research. I also wanted to start doing research to see if I even wanted a Ph.D.
Can I work in a lab for an extended number of hours? When my experiment fails to work, will I give up?
The control lab at Illinois Tech is doing diabetes research: Type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia. If someone is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they need to constantly wear a CGM sensor just so they can monitor what their glucose requirements are at a given time.
The continuous glucose monitoring sensor, it only tells you the current blood glucose concentration. It doesn't predict.
We wanted to build an algorithm, build a system, build a model, that can predict what your hyperglycemia levels would be in, let's say, the next 30 minutes.
We modeled the blood glucose data from patients. Now we can make some predictions. Let's start with a smaller horizon. Let's predict five minutes into the future, so we were able to get good results to make a 30-minute prediction horizon.
Illinois Tech, it has a lot of international students. It doesn't feel like I don't belong. There's a lot of other diverse students here, too. They celebrate international festivals. The color run is actually an ode to Holi, which is an Indian festival, and we throw powdered color at each other.
Illinois Tech meshes so well with all the other cultures that it's a good blend. It's a good mix. Having the right amount of students, having the right amount of activities, I feel like Illinois Tech just strikes the right balance.
The best part about research is the perseverance. It's the, ‘I'll fail, but I'll keep going at it.’
I'm happy to be contributing to something that actually makes a difference. Working in a lab is nice and all, but if I can take it and make it industrialized, make it public, make it available—that's really it. That's the goal, right there.