Undergraduate Research Program

Andrew Luo

Majors: Computer Science; Bioengineering
Mentor: Shwetak Patel, Computer Science and Engineering

Contact: luoa@uw.edu

Current research project: Automatic Characterization of User Errors in Spirometry



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance:
Spirometry is among the most commonly used and important tests of lung function available in a primary care setting. During spirometry, patient’s rapidly exhale the contents of their lungs into a spirometer. Doctor’s can then examine the resulting Volume exhaled vs. Time and Flow vs. Volume curves to understand the patient’s lung health better. However, spirometry can be difficult to perform and user errors can be common. This is an issue because it diminishes the clinical usefulness of a test; coughing for example can mess up the overall shape of the curve significantly which interferes with diagnosis. Automatically detecting these errors using machine learning can open up many possibilities to increase the availability of spirometry. For example, now the need for a professional to proctor a spirometry maneuver and correct patient errors is less needed if the spirometer itself can provide feedback on errors the user is performing.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in undergraduate research working in a Professor Ying Zheng’s bioengineering lab my freshman year. I knew I wanted to do research coming to college so I applied to pretty much every professor that had something that interested me! I always thought research was cool since the entire point was pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. As my interests evolved I applied to other labs and got in my current area. What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Research is what you make of it. Professors and mentors appreciate real interest and learning. Therefore, find something you are interested in and try to stick with it for a while. Some times you might get to a point where you have no idea how to proceed so it’s important to remember that it’s ok to admit you’re wrong and ask for help.