Faculty/ Lab PI

Dr. Chaitra Gopalappa, PhD, Associate Professor Industrial Engineering and Commonwealth Honors College,  Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst chaitrag(at)umass(dot)edu

Graduate Students

Sonza Singh PhD Student, Industrial Engineering, 2018-current Graduate research assistant: Infectious disease modeling

Nazanin PhD Candidate, Industrial Engineering, 2017-current Optimization methodologies for informing prevention of HIV in the US

Xinmeng Zhao PhD Student, Industrial Engineering, 2017-current Development of models for cancer control analysis for Southeast Asian countries

Hanisha Tatapudi, Visiting Research Fellow, UMass Amherst; PhD student, University of South Florida

Undergraduate Summer/Honors Thesis

Xinran (Lucy) Zhen, Visiting Summer Research Fellow, Mt Holyoke College



  • 2018- 2020: Shifali Shifali, MS in IEOR, Optimal mammography schedule estimates under varying disease burden, infrastructure availability, and other cause mortality: A comparative analyses of six low- and middle- income countries
    • Interned at Super Brush as Quality Assurance intern, Summer 2019
    • Employed at Amazon, 2020
  • 2020: Ron Mallach, PhD student in IEOR, Summer research, WebApp for COVID-19 model

  • 20152019: Buyannemekh Munkhbat, MS in IEOR, Computational model for predicting epidemic spread using the evolving contact network algorithm
    • Interned at Stanford University, Summer 2018
    • Employment: Machine learning engineer, Vanguard, 2019

  • 2017- 2019: Vijeta Deshpande, MS in IEOR, Markov Decision Process Approach to Strategize National Breast Cancer Screening Policy in Data-limited Settings
    • Interned at Avenir Health, Decision analytic modeling for non-communicable diseases, Fall 2018
    • Employed as mathematical modeler at the Massachusetts General Hospital, June 2019

  • 2017- 2018 Rahul Handa, MS in Computer Science – Visualization tools for large scale simulation metrics

  • 2015- 2016 Jiachen Guo, MS in Mechanical Engineering – Parameterization of cancer progression models in two WHO world regions, using two-step Markov process methodology


  • 2020-2021 Dennis Hofmann, Informatics, Thesis title: A simulation modle for evaluating alternative stratergies for prevention of HIV among the homeless population
    • NSF NRT trainee/PhD student in Computer Science at WPI
  • 2018-2019 Rebecca Castonguay, Industrial Engineering, Thesis title: Predicting Degree Correlations Along Scale- Free Network Contagion Paths for use in the Evolving Contact Network Algorithm
    • UMass Rising Researcher Award, 2019
    • MIE best student award, 2019

  • 2017-2018 Matthew Eden, Mechanical Engineering/ Mathematics, Thesis title: Simulating the spread of HIV in America’s drug-use  population
    • Finalist for best undergraduate Operations Research paper award, INFORMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix AZ, 2018
    • Current: PhD student at Northeastern University


  • Summer research 2020Dennis Hofmann, Informatics, Model-based analysis of integrated care for injecting drug use and HIV among homeless
  • Summer research 2020 – Nadia L’Bahy, Biology and Informatics, Model-based analysis of integrated care for mental health and HIV Honors thesis project, 2020; Summer research project, 2020
  • Spring 2019 – Doga Altinisik, Industrial Engineering, Graduate independent study, Analysis of Engineering Job Postings Using Web-Scraping and Machine Learning Predictions

  • Spring 2019 – Tudor Banari, Industrial Engineering, Reinforcement learning for automated vehicle control, Undergraduate Independent study

  • Fall 2017, Spring 2018 – Andrea Arredondo, Chemical Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Markov chain structure for risk between diseases for integrated analyses of disease prevention strategies

  • Spring 2017- Doga Altinisik, Industrial Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Clustering of countries by for analyses of cancer risk

  • Spring 2017- Andrea Arredondo, Chemical Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Markov chain structure for risk between diseases for integrated analyses of disease prevention strategies

  • Spring 2015   Jen Coppola, Industrial Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Modified network methodology for spread of infectious diseases

  • Spring 2015  Mike McGrath, Mechanical Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Markov chain modeling of breast cancer progression


  • Nadia L’Bahy, Informatics, Agent-based evolving network modeling for simulating mental health among HIV infected adults in the US, Summer research project, 2020

  • Dennis Hofmann, Informatics, Evolving contact network algorithm for the development of transmission network among injecting-drug use in the US  national population, Summer research project, 2020

  • Summer 2018Matthew Eden, Expansion of evolving contact network algorithm to generate scale-free networks Mechanical Engineering, research project

  • Summer 2018– Rebecca Castonguay, Studying properties of scale-free networks for generation of contact networks for HIV.  Industrial Engineering, research project

  • Spring 2017- Yang Shi, Mechanical Engineering, Undergraduate Independent study, Study of genetic algorithms for optimization modeling.

  • Summer 2016- Alexandra Wrona, Public Health, Comparison of mammography screening guidelines globally and literature review of research informing these guidelines, research project.

  • Spring 2015-  Brooke Herzog, Mathematics, Undergraduate Independent Study, Network modeling for analyzing spread of Ebola disease outbreak.

  • Fall 2014-  Nora Murphy, Industrial Engineering, Undergraduate Independent Study, HIV Modes of Transmission Analysis: Kenya 2014.