Sommer Gentry, Ph. D.,

About me

I graduated from Stanford University in 1998 with a B.S. in Mathematical and Computational Science and a M.S. in Operations Research.  I spent a year at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories before completing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005.  I am an Associate Professor in the mathematics department at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and senior staff with the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients.

I build operations research models to improve access to organ transplantation, in constant collaboration with my husband, Dorry Segev, who is both a transplant surgeon and a computer scientist by training. Redistricting is a classical problem in operations research, and we have shown that redistricting liver allocation would significantly reduce harmful geographic disparity in access to liver transplants.  Our work on redistricting liver allocation was a finalist for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice (watch video).

My research in optimization in kidney transplantation has been profiled in Science and TIME magazine, and I was a guest on the Diane Rehm show in 2005.  A one-hour Discovery channel show featured the work of myself and the transplant team at Johns Hopkins in arranging a three-way paired donation, and our research also played a part in an episode of the mathematical detective show Numb3rs. I served as an advisor to both the United States and Canada in their efforts to create national paired donation registries.  Our group helped lobby for Congress to clarify the legal status of kidney paired donation, which the House and Senate did in December 2007.

In 2009 the Mathematical Association of America selected me for a national teaching award, the Henry L. Alder award, which recognizes distinguished teaching by a beginning college or university mathematics faculty member. As a graduate student, I was supported by a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF). I won a related CSGF essay contest for technical writing that effectively communicates computational science to a lay audience.  

You can try your hand at matching organs with this puzzle, or an even tougher one, created by Scott Kim.

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