EECS Student Wins People's Choice Award at 3MT® Competition

November 19, 2020

Portrait of Anup Mishra

Anup Mishra, a PhD candidate, won People’s Choice at the 3MT(R) competition.

A Mizzou Engineer took home the People’s Choice award at this year’s 3MT® competition sponsored by the University of Missouri Graduate School.

Anup Mishra, a PhD candidate in electrical engineering and computer science, presented a three-minute thesis on creating personalized alerts to reduce alarm fatigue using machine learning techniques in health care settings.

“Alarm-related issues have been one of the most critical issues in health care systems for the last decade,” he said.

The problem is having multiple health monitoring systems that don’t interact. One person, for instance, could be connected to several machines monitoring different health indicators. These sensor-based monitors work independently and raise an alarm whenever something abnormal happens. Mishra is working to develop personalized health prediction models using a person’s electronic health records and in-home sensor data to provide a holistic approach to personalized health monitoring.

Mishra works with EECS Professor Marjorie Skubic in the MU Center for Eldercare Rehabilitation and Technology. The center develops technologies for proactive healthcare that helps older adults and people of all ages and needs to lead healthier, more independent lives. The center has collaborated with the MU Sinclair School of Nursing to deploy in-home sensors for health monitoring of older adults at TigerPlace, an aging-in-place facility in Columbia.

“We have custom data processing algorithms to track and recognize patterns in the in-home sensor data. In case of anomalies detected in the sensor data, these algorithms generate health alerts and send them to the designated care providers,” Mishra said. “However, many generated health alerts are usually irrelevant, redundant, or simply false. These false alerts overwhelm the schedule of our care providers. My work improves this monitoring system by using personalized health predictions such that the system sends customized health alerts, potentially reducing false alarms.”

In a hospital or health care setting, that would take the guesswork out of responding to numerous alerts. That would allow medical professionals to better respond to alerts that require immediate attention.

Competition Promotes Communication, Collaboration

The 3MT® competition is for active PhD and professional doctorate candidates who have passed their confirmation milestone.

Mishra said he’s been looking forward to being able to compete in the contest for a while. He’s been at Mizzou since 2013, earning his master’s degree in 2015, and plans to complete his PhD next semester.

“The best part about 3MT® is that it provided me an opportunity to speak about my research to a broader audience,” he said. “I’m really passionate about what we do in the lab, helping the older adult community to age-in-place.”

He said it helped him better understand how to explain technical research to a more general audience.

“When you prepare for the competition, you get an opportunity to present your research to leaders and expert communication professionals on campus who give you valuable advice in communicating science,” he said. “That’s not just helpful for the competition but also in several professional circumstances. For example, when you apply for jobs, you have such a short time to present yourself and what you’ve done.”

He’s also enjoyed getting to know other PhD candidates from departments across Mizzou—people just as passionate about their work as he is, Mishra said.

That’s what brought Mishra to Mizzou in the first place.

“I think this is a fascinating university, I must say, because of the student diversity and the various research opportunities,” he said. “Being an engineer, if I were anywhere else, I would never have gotten the collaborative research opportunities I’ve gotten here. We work with clinicians and nurses to solve real healthcare problems using the expertise we have.

“Being at Mizzou is like being at this amazing place where you can work with a lot of interdisciplinary researchers who are very open minded and collaborative. I definitely recommend Mizzou. If you’re interested in interdisciplinary research collaborations, this is it: this is the place you’ve got to be.”

Naomi Lee, a pathobiology student, took first place, and Erika Schneider, a journalism student, won second. Learn more about the 3MT® competition at Mizzou here.