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Hello BRIGHT Run Family

Photo of Dr. Ashirbani Saha wearing a dark blue shirt with tress behind her

A Letter from Dr. Ashirbani Saha — BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair

I am happy to address all of you through the newsletter. In early October, Lee Prokaska (the eNewsletter coordinator) emailed me about contributing to the newsletter. 

Honestly, in English, I have mostly written scholarly articles since my engineering degree. So, I thought a bit. I remembered writing in my school magazines during the primary, middle, and high school years on topics of interest to everyone. These were written in my native language, Bengali, mostly. I still write in Bengali and those are mostly memoirs/poems for me and my family.  

So, here’s how I would like to go in my first letter to you: 

I hope all of you are enjoying the fall weather! (who says that a monologue cannot begin with a note on the weather?) 

I am happily busy since our move to Hamilton this year. I joined my current position in July. I am exploring new paths (which includes trails in Hamilton and around 😊) in my life and research ever since.  

This year is remarkable in terms of the things I experienced for the first time, which includes my first BRIGHT Run as well. Some of my team (Say Aye For AI) members and I walked through the Spring Creek trail on Sept. 11!! It was fun and we had a raffle draw after that. The winner got a Kangaroo toy (it held a boomerang). 

Come to think of it, it has already been 3.5 months since I joined McMaster University. Among several things over these last few months, I met some experts and got to know their work and looked for opportunities to utilize AI techniques with their existing datasets. I found a couple of research directions by looking closely at the methods and the data collected from two of our radiation therapy clinical trials and the pertinent literature.

As you know, apart from the data, high-end computing equipment is another important part of my work. Due to the ongoing crisis in the semiconductor industry, one piece of computing equipment is taking longer than usual to arrive from the USA.

However, that doesn’t stop me from reading (dynamic AI literature), coding (writing computer programs), listening (talks from experts in AI and medical-AI field), thinking (creativity is a part of a researcher’s job), learning (that’s fun), and connecting (my contact list is expanding).

Dr. Mark Levine has been mentoring me since I started here and both Dr. Levine and Dr. Jonathan Sussman have encouraged me to take up initiatives and guided me through several steps related to my work! I cannot mention everyone’s name, but I got a lot of help from several teams and individuals since I started. That’s lucky me! 

This year, so far, has been a very eventful and outstanding one in my life and I am thankful to everyone, including BRIGHT Run, who contributed to making this happen. 

With best wishes, 

Ashirbani