Jessie Sheflin is a rising fourth-year majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She works in an electrical engineering lab with Professor Matthew Grayson.

Tell me about your SURG topic.

Sheflin: My research is in this area called electrical impedance tomography. Basically, the goal of that is to image things with electrical currents. For example, you could put on a vest and there’s a bunch of electrodes in that vest. By running electrical currents through those electrodes, we could image the inside of your body and see how big your heart is, how your lungs are functioning, if you have any tumors in that area. More specifically, my grant is for making a couple of models to do simulations on and also to develop an algorithm to reconstruct what the body looks like from the current data.

What do you hope to get out of this research?

Sheflin: I’m really enjoying the research that I’m doing right now. It’s turned out that the computer science and engineering intersection is a really great place for me to work. Of course, I’d like to continue working in the Grayson lab, hopefully to get published. I’m not really sure what I want to do after graduation, but something similar to this. It’s been really useful for figuring out what I like doing best and where I feel that my talents are best utilized.

What aspect of this research are you most excited about?

Sheflin: I think the potential of this imaging method is really cool. It’s super cool to get in on the ground level of something that’s this important because of the applications that we’re looking at right now. It’s being used in clinics a little bit with just a single band of electrodes and they’re able to image people’s lungs and see how much they’re breathing and if they have any disorders or if they have a lung puncture or they have a bunch of air in their chest. And I’m working on 3D versions of it. With my work, if it ends up panning out and if 3D [impedance tomography] ends up being used, it could be super impactful. You could put a vest on someone after a traumatic car crash and see if they have internal bleeding. You could test for tumors. You could test for other facets of lung function because with the 3D IT, taking a slice of that is actually better data than just the one ring of electrodes too. It’s actually super great that I might be able to help people with my research and that feels really empowering.

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