Using Math to Predict Cancer

Julia Camacho
TAMS student Julia Christina Ayalde Camacho explains her project to Charles Conley, chair of the UNT mathematics department, while Camacho's mentor, associate professor Xuexia Wang, looks on. (Photo by Ahna Hubnik)

Julia Christina Ayalde Camacho, a student in UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, and Xuexia Wang, an associate professor and researcher of statistics in UNT's Department of Mathematics, are working together as student and mentor to explore new ways to apply computational biology and statistics to cancer research.

Camacho created a computer program that accepts data from patients who survived childhood cancer, learns from that data and predicts the possibility of secondary nervous system cancer as an adult. Children suffering from cancer were often exposed to radiation therapy, Wang says. There is a linear relation between the dosage of radiation and the risk of developing secondary nervous system cancer.

Camacho's research project took first place in the 2019 Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair Computer Science Division, won third in the entire science fair and received three special awards.