Receives Women and Gender research award for her research
Nagpur: Nagpur girl Kirti Maheshkumar Yenkie has been awarded Ph.D. in Bioengineering by University of Illinois at Chicago, U.S.A. for her thesis entitled “Stochastic Processes from Batch Crystallization to In-vitro Fertilization”.
Kirti Yenkie did her B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from Laxminarayan Institute of Technology in 2008 from Nagpur and M. Tech. (Chemical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai in 2010 before joining Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago on a fellowship for pursuing her research work in January 2011. She worked under the guidance of Dr. Urmila Diwekar, Professor in Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago and Professor and President of Vishwamitra Research Institute (VRI), Chicago and also an alumni of L.I.T. Nagpur University of 1982 batch. She is daughter of Dr. M.K.N. Yenkie, Director-in-Charge, L.I.T. and former Pro Vice Chancellor, R.T.M. Nagpur university.
Around 80 million people all over the world are suffering from infertility issues and the prevalence of infertility related issues are increasing worldwide due to modern lifestyle, postponed childbearing, infections, genetic disorders, etc. Most infertile couples therefore resort to medical procedures like assisted reproductive technology (ART) for treatment.
Kirti’s PhD research focuses on applications of mathematical modeling, optimal control, stochastic processes and control under uncertainty to bioprocesses and biomedicine in in-vitro fertilization (IVF)). In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common technique and is divided into four stages: superovulation, egg retrieval, insemination/fertilization and embryo transfer. The first stage of superovulation is a drug induced method to enable multiple follicle growth to oocytes in a single menstrual cycle.
The overall success of IVF is dependent upon the initial success in the superovulation stage, defined by high number of uniformly sized and good quality oocytes/eggs retrieved. The research involved mathematical modeling of this stage in terms of follicle growth and their size distribution as a function of interactions of the hormonal drugs and patient response. The model as well as the clinical data were analyzed for sources of uncertainty and a robust stochastic differential equation based model is developed for superovulation.
This work will help in incorporating individualized treatment variations based on patient’s initial response and hence reducing the risks associated with the treatment and manyfold reduction in the treatment cost. The methodologies developed are expected to act as treatment guidelines for medical practitioners and will prove to be advantageous to the health and well being of the patient during and after the IVF treatment completion.
Kirti was awarded Graduate Student Research Award for exceptional work on Women and Gender Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago’s annual research symposium on April 14, 2014 . Her work led to eight publications in peer reviewed international journals.