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The Sound of Science - 'Engineering and Vaccines'

Dr. Brynteson: You are listening to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I'm Dr. Kristin Brynteson, director of NIU STEAM. Today, I'm joined by Dr. Muthuswamy, associate professor in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Welcome!

Dr. Muthuswamy: Hi!

Dr. B: So COVID and COVID vaccinations are on everybody's mind right now. How is engineering helping the COVID vaccine rollout?

Dr. M: It's just phenomenal how engineering comes into play to help the community. For example, we working with the local hospital to create a simulation model to come up with a "what if" scenario.

How many patients can we vaccinate in an hour? How many nurses? How many stations? How long are they going to stay in the line and how many chairs are needed to help them sit down for the next 15 minutes after vaccination?

For example, during lunchtime more people might be coming in so I need a few more nurse stations. On a weekend it might be a little more and on a week day it might be a little less. So we study the patient flow and then come up with the number of resources whether it is the person to take your temperature, the person to check your ID, or how many nurses are needed.

The end goal is to ensure that the patients go through smoothly and they're out of here in a few minutes. And the patients are happy, they know where to go, because even otherwise it's a stressful process, so as engineers we want to ensure it's a smooth and easier process for them.

Dr. B: Thanks for listening to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. Where you learn something new every day.

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