Casey O'Neal Orndorff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Location
Boreham Business Building 106
Casey O’Neal Orndorff, Ph.D.

From an early age, I was interested in how the world worked and what made the sky blue, how the body worked, and in what ways “to save the world.”  This path of curiosity has led me to studying mathematics in its applied form.  At WVU Tech, I earned my BS Mathematics degree with a general emphasis in engineering.  With the knowledge I gained at WVU Tech, I wanted to tackle a bigger problem; I wanted to try to find a cure for cancer. 

This endeavor led me to Louisiana Tech University where I studied computational analysis and modeling with particular emphases in mathematics, computer science, and biomedical engineering. After several years of studying, failed experiments, all-nighters trying to find the “y” to my “x” for my equations, and debugging my programs that explained and simulated biological phenomena, I developed a simulation that can predict the effect of hyperthermia treatment via Photothermal Ablation to effectively kill early stage tumors in the skin while leaving the healthy tissue intact.  The model itself was the first model to account for the thermodynamic effects of the blood vessels interacting with the external effects of the previously mentioned therapy while optimizing the therapy to be as quick and thorough as possible.

After graduating from Louisiana Tech University, I moved into a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics role with Louisiana State University- Alexandria, where I taught freshmen-level mathematics courses and put my research background to work with applying data mining to a field known as Fog Chemometrics to analyze large amounts of data being generated from many chemical reactions.

Other projects I’ve been on relate to my idea of “saving the world.” I’ve been involved in projects with the Air Force that help identify radical actors on social media platforms, continually working on my cancer treatment simulations, developing software that can detect stress episodes in mice that will hopefully lead to being able to detect episodes in humans, and directing/assisting in other projects in other fields as a programming/statistics consultant.

When I’m not researching, I’m in the classroom teaching courses ranging from College Algebra to Calculus; sometimes a programming course is thrown in for good measure.  I like to introduce and talk about variations of mathematics that are used in research and that are used to describe the world that we live in. My goal is to prepare students to think conceptually rather than just solving problems.  If a student has/develops the ability to think critically, they will learn that the world will open more doors for them than rather memorizing and computing.

When I’m not teaching or researching, I’m either running laps (quite literally) around Clarksville, powerlifting in the athletic building, playing video/trading card games with students during The Guild meetings, or volunteering with various activities/sports around campus. As with my intellectual interests, my extracurricular activities are quite varied.  If you have any interest in mathematics, computer science, engineering, or just want to have a discussion on sports and find ways to get involved on campus, my office is always open!

Special Projects / Initiatives

In summary, a lot of my projects deal with applying mathematics to the real world and solving mathematical systems to predict various phenomena.  One of those is predicting the effects of photothermal ablation in killing a tumor without affecting the healthy skin around it.  Other projects entail of monitoring and predicting radical actors on social media (those that intend to do harm/recruit those to do harm to the general public), examining Collatz Conjecture in hopes of finding a proof to show that all numbers converge to one in collaboration of Mr. Javier Taylor and Dr. Matt Myers, and being a statistical and programming consultant wherever possible.