From left to right: Pat Halpin-Murphy, founder of the PBCC, Dr. Iyad Obeid, and Dr. Joseph Picone
Jesse O'Neill

Dr. Iyad Obeid and his colleague, Dr. Joseph Picone of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, were awarded a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) last week. Their project, Rapid and Inexpensive Precision Breast Cancer Screening Using Machine Learning, seeks to create machine learning software for automatically identifying abnormal cells in breast cancer biopsy slides and making human-interpretable estimates of tumor staging and grading. They plan to use artificial intelligence to analyze cancer biopsy results to create more efficient reports for pathologists. The AI will estimate the stage of any cancers detected and provide supporting evidence for the pathologist to consider.  

"For all the fancy technology, for all the research papers and conference presentations, I've always tried to remember the individuals who stand to benefit from the technology," noted Obeid. "The funds [for this award] come from regular Pennsylvanians whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, the very same people who have motivated and inspired my professional trajectory. We pledge to use this gift judiciously and efficiently to do the most good possible." 

Dr. Obeid and Dr. Picone hope to help eradicate breast cancer by making early detection simpler and more efficient.