Predicting cancer in organ transplant patients is the goal of Wright State University business major Christopher Broach, the recipient of a prestigious scholarship that will help him pursue it.
Broach is a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar, the beneficiary of a National Science Foundation-funded program that supports historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields.
The LSAMP Leadership and Academic Enhancement Program is named in honor of late Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes and has been active at Wright State since 2014. Enrollment is reserved for select and highly committed students.
“It’s an important award, a recognition,” said Broach, who majors in management information systems at the Raj Soin College of Business.
He said the scholarship will enable him to give greater focus to his organ transplant project.
“When somebody receives an organ from somebody, there is this chance they can develop cancer. It’s an issue,” he said. “It’s a pretty significant problem to address.”
Broach will look at all of the variables involved with organ donors, organ recipients and the organ transplant process.
“We are trying to determine which ones are going to tell us they might cause cancer,” he said. “We are trying to build predictive models that will give us a number.”
Broach is collaborating with Amir Zadeh, Ph.D., associate professor of management information systems, and biomedical experts to figure out which organ to scrutinize the most.
“I think we’re going to get at minimum great insight into what causes a cancer, which variables aren’t factors, things you can totally dismiss, and things that absolutely need attention,” he said.
Zadeh said Wright State has some brilliant students and Broach is one of them.
“Chris is hardworking and passionate about research,” said Zadeh. “His research on developing machine-learning prediction models for organ transplantation can have potential to improve post-transplantation survival rates.”
Broach grew up in Dayton. After graduating in 2014 from the David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center, where he studied biotechnology, he spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, where he was a nuclear weapons technician stationed in Minot, North Dakota.
“I dealt with the missiles and warheads and equipment,” he said.
“My passion is with business,” he said. “MIS stuck out because it seemed fairly technical, working with a lot of different software, some light programming. When you have skills like that, it’s pretty valuable.”
The Management Information Systems program is designed for students looking to work in businesses, nonprofits and government agencies increasingly relying on data to drive decision-making and increase productivity.
The organ transplant numbers turned up by Broach will be crunched at the college’s Data Analytics and Visualization Environment, or DAVE lab, in Rike Hall.
The 1,000-square-foot lab, which features a mini supercomputer as well as visualization software, is used to teach students business analytics. Students acquire data from multiple sources, collect it in a single location, select the relevant information and then use software tools to analyze it and find meaningful and useful knowledge.
This summer, Broach will begin an internship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base working in data management at the Life Cycle Management Center, which is charged with managing weapon systems from their inception to retirement. He hopes it will turn into a full-time job after he graduates in the spring of 2023.
However, Broach also is hopeful that his organ transplant project will have professional implications.
“This is a whole new world I’m stepping into,” he said. “There could be a lot of great career opportunities.”