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Seeing cancer by computer vision

The ability of cancer cells to adopt different shapes and spread throughout the body drives 90% of cancer deaths. My idea is that by stopping these shape changes, we able to treat cancers better. I will discuss how we are using cutting-edge imaging and computer vision technologies to watch cancer cells change shape, and finding new ways to prevent cancer shape-shifting. I will also discuss some of the challenges we are facing in doing this work, and how we might be able to overcome them.


 

Dr Chris Bakal

Dr Chris Bakal was born in Calgary, Canada. He received his BSc in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia, and his PhD in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto. Chris’ postdoctoral work was performed in Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After being awarded a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, Chris established his laboratory at the Institute of Cancer Research in London in 2009.

The Bakal laboratory’s research is aimed at understanding how changes in cell shape drive cancer, and how changing cell shape could be a way to treat the disease. His laboratory combines expertise in advanced microscopy techniques, big-data analysis, and machine learning tools.

Chris was awarded the 2015 Cancer Research UK Future Leaders Prize. In 2014, he was awarded the Council for Systems Biology Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Prize, and in 2013 the British Association for Cancer Research Frank Rose Award. In 2007, Chris was named as one of the most promising postdoctoral fellows or junior faculty members at Harvard Medical School by the Dorsett L. Spurgeon award.

Outside of science Chris is competitive road cyclist, and a former world-ranked downhill ski racer.