Two years ago, when Sherri arrived at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research for the first of her two summer internships there, she was astounded by the amount of data from EEG (electroencephalograph) experiments that her neuroscientist mentor had to wade through.

EEG machines monitor electrical activity in a patient's brain and spew out yard after yard of strip-chart recordings. A doctor has to scrutinize multiple wiggly lines to discern if any abnormal brain activity is happening or has occurred, like a seizure, and if so, how severe it was and what part of the brain was affected. The analyses can take precious minutes — time the patient can ill afford. Later, the strip charts often get eyeballed again, as researchers hunt for telltale indications of a looming seizure or stroke.

geng project
Sherri Geng found a way to make analyzing massive amounts of data more efficient and effective.
Sherri figured there had to be a better way of dealing with all that data. So she began developing an algorithm, based on statistical techniques, for monitoring the monitor. The program analyzes the electrical signals flowing to the strip-chart pens. When signs of a seizure appear, the system records it and the associated data.

By the end of last summer, Sherri's program was performing up to snuff, and she began preparing a patent application. It asserts that the algorithm could be expanded to apply to other wave patterns, including electrocardiograms, says Sherri, who was born in China and arrived in the U.S. in 1990, on the eve of her third birthday

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COMMENTS On The Issues

funding more r&d: Once the war ends, we'll be spending less on troops, and we can focus more on domestic issues. The key is to prioritize and make sure that funds are being channeled to where they are needed the most.


Sherri Y. Geng


Immigration Breeds Generations of Success

Yes, Girls, Science Is Fun

Montgomery Blair High School
Silver Spring, Md.

Hobbies: Poetry, music, ping-pong; chief editor, school newspaper

Ambition: Physician, possibly oncology