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In Focus: School of Plant Sciences Utilizes Statistical Consulting
In Focus: School of Plant Sciences Utilizes Statistical Consulting
In Focus: School of Plant Sciences Utilizes Statistical Consulting

You say tomato, I say to tomahto. Research on this pulpy edible fruit, also known as Solanum lycopersicum, is the topic of research for Mark Kroggel, research specialist for the School of Plant Sciences. Kroggel, has been utilizing Research Computing Support (RCS) Statistical Consulting services as a resource to create predictive models about tomato plant growth. In this research, Kroggel ‘s primary role is to produce tomatoes and analyze the data as a member of Dr. Chieri Kubota’s research team, who works in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Thomson in the Department of Nutrition Sciences .

The research team is investigating the science of tomato growth. “We’re always interested in how the environment is affecting the plants,” Kroggel said. That is where the statistical consulting staff became a valuable resource. Kroggel wanted predictive models of how greenhouse-grown tomato plants would respond in different climates, from our Sonoran desert to more humid and temperate climates. For that, he needed data processed through statistical software. There's a lot of analysis that I do know how to do, but at some point I don't." Kroggel said. For some of the more intricate statistical data, he turned to Dr. Mohammad Torabi, a statistical consultant on the RCS staff.

Kroggel works closely with Torabi to acquire, process, archive, analyze, model, visualize, simulate, and disseminate complex data to close the data-to-knowledge gap across multiple time and length scales. “We’ll work together, and make sure that he understands the data, and that I understand what he’s doing with the data, and then he can just generate predictive models and hand it to me. ” Kroggel recalls.

Sound simple?  Torabi states that the process is a little more involved.  When Kroggel first approached him for this project, Torabi helped design the research.  Torabi is actively involved in helping researchers design projects to be more efficient, working one-on-one with the researcher.  Even if Kroggel does much of the work, the statistical analysis model built by Torabi is what produces the final results.

This isn't the first time Kroggel has worked with Torabi.  Kroggel and graduate students from Kubota's team in Plant Sciences have worked with Torabi for five years.  The consulting resource has allowed Kroggel and others to analyze their data in a way that is not necessarily part of their expertise.

Statistical Consulting is open to anyone who has the need for it. To make an appointment or read more about consulting, visit our Statistical Consulting site.