Ramita "Mimi" Dhamrongsirivadh ’24

Computer Science Research to Help Stroke Survivors

Ramita "Mimi" Dhamrongsirivadh ’24 analyzes data from wearable sensors to better understand movement patterns in stroke survivors to aid their recovery.

Ramita "Mimi" Dhamrongsirivadh ’24

Computer Science

Bankok, Thailand

What drew you to this field of study?

In high school, I really enjoyed math, physics, and technology. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study and started out in robotics engineering at a university in Thailand. I took some courses in programming and discovered that I really liked it. I decided to transfer to UMass Amherst and switch to studying computer science.

The reason I like computer science is that it opens up a lot of opportunities. You can do anything with computer science and that really excites me. I am particularly interested in the application of computer science in health care. I think computer science and technology have the potential to improve peoples’ quality of life, and I want to be part of that.

How do you conduct your research?

My current project is trying to optimize a measure to quantify the performance of stroke survivors, using data from wearable sensors. I’m using different techniques to analyze a dataset and trying to extract as much information as possible in order to understand the underlying behaviors of stroke survivors at different stages (such as one week, two weeks, and so on, after their stroke).

In my previous project, I devised and implemented an application that can generate acceleration data from a brief 10-second video capturing human motion, utilizing a state-of-the-art algorithm developed within our lab.  

I see research as a learning opportunity and try to learn as much as possible when doing it.

What do you see as the impact—or potential impact—of your work?

This research has the potential to help a lot of people, especially stroke survivors and those with other motor impairments. Understanding how patients perform movements in real life is very important in stroke rehabilitation to guide the direction their therapy should take. This research will also allow us to understand more about human movement in general. In the future, it may be used to develop new therapeutic methods for stroke survivors and, eventually, it may be able to generalize to people with other diseases as well.

How does your faculty mentor support your research?

My mentor is Ivan Lee (associate professor in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences). When I first started working in the lab, I didn’t have much research experience. Dr. Lee gave me the opportunity to work alongside PhD students and learn from them. Now, as I’m working on my own project, he guides me through the process and provides feedback. If I ever have questions or concerns, I can come to him for advice. He always finds good opportunities for me to learn more about the field. Last year, with his support, I had the opportunity to attend a conference, IEEE-EMBS International Conference on Body Sensor Networks 2023, and I learned a lot there.

Research allows you to step outside the box and gives you the freedom to think creatively about how to solve problems.

Ramita "Mimi" Dhamrongsirivadh ’24 

What do you find most exciting about your research?

I find it exciting to solve problems that no one has ever solved before while learning new things in the process. I never know what I will learn through research; it often surprises me. Just today I did a presentation about four patterns of improvement in stroke survivors, and we discovered some relationships between two different measures that weren’t known before.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the ability to push boundaries. Research allows you to step outside the box and gives you the freedom to think creatively about how to solve problems.

I am also proud of the application I developed in the lab, which received the Best Demo Award at the IEEE-EMBS International Conference on Body Sensor Networks 2023. This was also my first time attending and presenting at a conference.

How has your research enhanced your overall educational experience at UMass?

I think the best way to learn is to apply the knowledge you gain in the classroom in real life, and research allows you to do that. For example, I took a course in statistics at UMass but never used what I learned until I started working in the lab. Now I feel much more comfortable using the statistical analysis methods I learned. This kind of real-world experience prepares me for my career in the future.

What are your plans for the future?

In the fall, I will start the MS/PhD program in computer science at UMass, continuing to work in the same lab. In the future, I think I’d like to work in health analytics research, either in the academy or in industry.

Why would you recommend UMass to a friend?

There are so many opportunities to learn here. UMass offers a solid educational experience in computer science and really prepares you to work in the real world as a computer scientist. There are also many extracurriculars you can do, like clubs and hackathons, and, of course, opportunities to get involved in research.

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