50 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Inside IISE Journals
Working toward affordable
cell therapy for cancer treatments
Cancers are the second leading cause of death in modern
society. Recently, CAR-T cell therapy has shown innova-
tive therapeutic effectiveness in fighting cancer. One of the
rst successes of CAR-T cell therapy is Emily Whitehead,
who was suffering from leukemia in 2012. Now she is more
than eight years cancer-free. Another example is former
president Jimmy Carter, who has made a full recovery from
brain cancer, again thanks to CAR-T cell therapy.
Despite its effectiveness, CAR-T cell therapy is extreme-
ly expensive and can take up to $1 million for each pa-
tient. The reason for this is twofold. First, culturing cells
and monitoring the growth are extremely labor-intensive
and require well-trained doctors. Second, each patient has
unique genetic material, leading to different growth pat-
terns and interaction patterns when using biosensors.
In their paper, “A Calibration-Free Method for Biosens-
ing in Cell Manufacturing,” Jialei Chen from the Univer-
sity of Georgia, Zhaonan Liu, Kan Wang, Chuck Zhang
and Ben Wang from Georgia Institute of Technology and
Chen Jiang from the University of Rochester demonstrate a
calibration-free learning model that leverages impedance-
based biosensor array to effectively monitor critical qual-
ity attributes during the cell manufacturing process in cell
The key concept is to leverage readings from multiple
biosensors to “cancel out” the patient-specific noisy effects
while amplifying the critical quality attributes of interest.
In this way, the authors of this work automate the cell man-
ufacturing process with minimal human involvement, and
therefore reduce the high labor cost in CAR-T cell produc-
CONTACT: Jialei Chen; jialei.chen@uga.edu; (706) 542-5232; Depart-
ment of Statistics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
How fast can your brand-new
automated warehouse be?
Isnt automation amazing? Humans have been able to teach
machines how to accomplish tasks that even they them-
selves are unable to carry out. Thanks to artificial intel-
ligence and deep learning, today we have extremely fast
computers, cameras that recognize people and, very soon,
even drones and autonomous vehicles for smart urban mo-
Automation is not limited to everyday life, but in the In-
dustry 4.0 era, its peak is found in industries where anthro-
pomorphic and/or collaborative robots, automated guided
vehicles, digital twins and automated storage and retrieval
systems are standard technologies. However, these jewels
can be very expensive. Because of this, it is very important
This month we highlight two articles in IISE Transactions. The first article explores how to make cell therapy for cancer
treatments affordable. One recent cancer treatment is CAR-T cell therapy, which is highly effective yet extremely expensive.
The reason behind the prohibitive expense of this treatment is rooted in the labor-intensive production process for cell
culturing, growth and final selection. The authors propose a calibration-free learning model that can contribute to the
automation of the cell manufacturing process and thus reduce the high labor cost. The second article looks into an
estimation problem before making investments to automate one’s warehouse. The question: How much can one anticipate
the increase in productivity of the automated warehouse, given a few readily available key design parameters? The authors
were able to reduce the complex analysis into one single formula. When applying their formula to some warehouses in the
steel industry, they found that the simple formula can estimate with an accuracy ranging from 95% to 98%. These articles
will appear in the January 2021 issue of IISE Transactions (Volume 54, No. 1).
Jialei Chen Chuck Zhang
December 2021 | ISE Magazine 51
to know what we will get
when we buy an automated
system and what its real ca-
pabilities are.
In their paper, “Cycle
Time Calculation of Shut-
tle-Lift-Crane Automated
Storage and Retrieval Sys-
tem,” authors Francesco
Zammori, Mattia Neroni
and Davide Mezzogori from the University of Parma, Italy,
provide a single formula that might be used to estimate,
with an accuracy ranging from 95% to 98%, the produc-
tivity of an automated warehouse widely used in the steel
The warehouse’s layout and the kinematics of the in-
stalled machines are the only inputs required to estimate
performance, a fact that makes it suitable to be used during
the proposal phase, when investments or expensive simula-
tions have not been made yet. A single formula is all that is
needed to predict with accuracy the productivity of such a
complex system.
CONTACT: Mattia Neroni; mattia.neroni@unipr.it; +390521905873;
University of Parma, Italy
Measuring the link between
fatigue and workload among
workers in complex manual assembly
Mental workload and general fatigue have been studied
extensively in safety-critical environments (e.g., avia-
tion, nuclear, petrochemical), in which human perfor-
mance degradation can lead to catastrophic outcomes. In
the manufacturing sector, however, physical task demands
have received primary attention because of the presence of
biomechanical loading and the prevalence of musculoskel-
etal disorders. Yet, in complex manual assembly, such as in
aerospace manufacturing, cognitive workload and chrono-
biological aspects can also contribute to fatigue and degrade
worker performance (e.g., decrease productivity, increase
human error and quality issues).
In their paper, “Evaluation of Fatigue and Workload
Among Workers Conducting Complex Manual Assembly
in Manufacturing,” Yaniel Torres, a Ph.D. student, togeth-
er with professors Sylvie Nadeau and Kurt Landau, all at
the École de technologie supérieure in Montreal, Canada,
sought to understand which aspects of assembly tasks may
be contributing to fatigue. To do so, the authors conducted
a study of fatigue and workload among a group of assem-
bly workers over two weeks. During this period, partici-
pants evaluated their level of fatigue and the dimensions of
workload on a daily basis. In addition, several predictors
of fatigue were investigated, including workload estimates,
sleep duration, the shift worked and production levels.
An important finding was that levels of fatigue high
enough to compromise performance were reported in one-
third of the shifts evaluated. Further, a statistical analysis
indicated that fatigue scores at the beginning of the shift,
workload estimates and
working evening shifts were
significant predictors of
high levels of fatigue.
Also of interest was that
the mental demand was
the highest dimension of
reported workload. These
results suggest that manag-
ers and supervisors should
This month we highlight two articles in Volume
9, No. 1 of the IISE Transactions on Occupational
Ergonomics and Human Factors. In the first, a team
led by Yaniel Torres examined several potential
factors contributing to the fatigue experienced by
assembly workers, finding that mental workload
and some elements of the work schedules adversely
influenced fatigue. In the second paper, Alec Smith
and colleagues examined the occurrence of drowsy-
driving incidents among night-shift nurses and
found that a large portion of near crashes occurred
within the first 15 minutes of commutes, and that
prior near-crashes were a strong predictor of future
Francesco Zammori Mattia Neroni
Davide Mezzogori
Yaniel Torres Sylvie Nadeau
Kurt Landau
52 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
consider cognitive workload as a key contributor to fatigue
in complex manual assembly. Additionally, work schedule
planning should be done considering shift duration, start
times and end times to reduce the impact on fatigue and
potential sleep disruptions among workers.
CONTACT: Yaniel Torres; yaniel.torres-medina.1@ens.etsmtl.ca or sylvie.
nadeau@etsmtl.ca; École de technologie supérieure; 1100 Notre-Dame
West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 1K3
Study finds night-shift nurses’
near miss vehicle crashes
follow a predictable pattern
Drowsy driving contributes to nearly 100,000 crashes and
1,000 deaths each year. Night-shift nurses are particularly
susceptible to drowsy driving due to their long working
hours and disrupted sleep schedules.
In their paper “The Impact of Commutes, Work Sched-
ules and Sleep on Near-Crashes during Nurses’ Post Shift-
Work Commutes: A Naturalistic Driving Study,” graduate
student Alec Smith and professor Anthony McDonald of
Texas A&M University and Farzan Sasangohar of Texas
A&M and Houston Methodist Research Institute, con-
ducted a naturalistic driving study with night-shift nurses
to better understand how shift, sleep and driving conditions
contribute to drowsy driving incidents. Nurses placed a da-
ta-logging device in their vehicle that captured kinematics
and GPS data, and they completed daily surveys about their
shift duration and sleep quality and quantity. While crashes
are the best indicator of roadway safety, they rarely occur;
instead, near-crashes (i.e., swerves, hard brakes) were used
as a surrogate dependent measure for crashes. The driving
and survey data were analyzed using regression and fre-
quency analysis.
Their analysis showed that that the largest contributing
factor to a drowsy driving incident was a prior near crash
on the same drive. Furthermore, a large proportion of near-
crashes occurred within the first 15 minutes of the drive,
and the majority of near-crashes occurred within 30 min-
utes. Most near-crashes occurred on highways and feeders
to highways, with relatively few occurring on commercial
and residential roads.
These findings highlight
the danger of post-night-
shift commuting and illus-
trate a need for new inter-
ventions to limit the crash
risk. In particular, interven-
tions should be explored that
can be placed in the vehicle
(e.g., in-vehicle monitoring
systems) or before the nurse
CONTACT: Anthony McDonald; mcdonald@tamu.edu; Department of
Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University
Yu Ding is the Mike and Sugar Barnes Professor of Industrial
and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University and associate
director for Research Engagement at the Texas A&M Institute of
Data Science. He is editor-in-chief of IISE Transactions and a
fellow of IISE.
Maury Nussbaum is the HG Prillaman professor at Virginia Tech
in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, editor-
in-chief of the IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonom-
ics and Human Factors, and a fellow of IISE.
IISE Transactions (link.iise.org/iisetransactions) is IISE’s flagship
research journal and is published monthly. It aims to foster exchange
among researchers and practitioners in the industrial engineering
community by publishing papers that are grounded in science and
mathematics and motivated by engineering applications.
IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors
(link.iise.org/iisetransactions_ergonomics) is devoted to compiling
and disseminating knowledge on occupational ergonomics and
human factors theory, technology, application and practice across
diverse areas. You can follow on Twitter at twitter.com/iisetoehf or
To subscribe, call (800) 494-0460.
Call for special issue submissions
Author submissions are being sought for an upcoming special
issue of IISE Transactions, “Modeling and optimization of supply
chainresilience to pandemics and long-term crises.” The issue
aims to attract novel research dealing with supply chain resilience
modeling and optimization in context of long-term crises motivated
by the COVID-19 pandemic. The submission deadline is Feb. 28. For
more, visit think.taylorandfrancis.com/special_issues/supply-chain-
About the journal
Farzan SasangoharAlec Smith Anthony McDonald
Become an author for ISE magazine
ISE managers, educators, students, solutions
experts – even the C-suite … ISE is your
magazine. Earn respect among your peers by
writing about what you know and love best.
• Generate byline buzz by reaching thousands
• Prove yourself THE subject matter expert.
• Earn the exclusive ISE Magazine Writer badge.
• Beef up social profile, resume, email signature.
Contact Managing Editor Keith Albertson,
Pitt, UPRM students adapt remotely
2020, a long a year of disruptions
A model for operational excellence
Case Study: Improving university
cleaning processes
What’s Your Story?
ISE educator
Harriet B. Nembhard
from the
ISE students overcome
COVID-19 limitations
JANUARY 2021 | Volume 53 | Number 1 | $23
Supply chains to ease human
nutrition, healthcare needs
Why AI sparks the need
for general know-how
Forgotten hypothesis theory
gets a fresh look
Case Study: Hospital tiered
huddles tackle issues
Can water
ll power
may support clean
energy grid
JULY 2021 | Volume 53 | Number 7 | $23
What’s Your Story?
Apple CEO Tim Cook
JULY 2021 | Volume 53 | Number 7 | $23
JUNE 2021 | Volume 53 | Number 6 | $23
Building social capital
into your company culture
Celebrating women in engineering
Choosing the right AI
for your business
Highlighting IISEs
Honors & Awards winners
Following the
DMAIC path
to success
What’s Your Story?
West Point systems
engineering instructor
Isabella T. Sanders
Six Sigma principles
improve production
Following the
DMAIC path
to success
Lean and Six Sigma aid
smart meter installation
Phantom assembly tool
cuts costs, boosts efficiency
Kitting plan helps jet maker
fit out planes more efficiently
Ergonomists lead innovative
efforts to advocate safety
What’s Your Story?
The Ergonomics Center
Executive Director Julia Abate
MARCH 2021 | Volume 53 | Number 3 | $23
ISEs as
for shifting