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Mac bringing engineering expert into the fight against breast cancer

Mac bringing engineering expert into the fight against breast cancer

Thanks to community members who volunteered, ran and donated funds for the annual Hamilton BRIGHT Run for breast cancer research McMaster is  establishing a new research chair.

Tthe inaugural holder of the BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair is Ashirbani Saha, an engineer who joined the Department of Oncology of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine as an assistant professor and research educator on July 1.

“Dr. Saha’s recruitment is a bold move. By bringing an engineer into a clinical department, our breast cancer research agenda will be launched to the next level,” said Mark Levine, professor of oncology, world-renowned breast cancer researcher and a founding member of BRIGHT Run.

As the BRIGHT Run chair, Dr. Saha  is focusing on developing a collaborative interdisciplinary research program, using advanced data analytic techniques including artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the care of breast cancer patients. She will draw on the large amount of local data through McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences

Nancy McMillan, BRIGHT Run executive committee chair, said her organization was keen to see Saha bring her unique perspective and skills in advanced analytics to collaborate closely with clinicians and researchers to unravel the puzzle of breast cancer.

BRIGHT Run organizers have donated $2 million to permanently fund a new endowed research chair that will focus on advanced analytics in breast cancer and oncology. McMaster is adding $2 million to the endowment.

“This position is designed to improve the outcomes for people with breast cancer. I have a chance to make a positive impact on human lives through my research and this is what motivates me every day to make a difference,” said Saha. “Healthcare analytics are vital, because they require a lot of input from clinicians and other disciplines closely related to oncology.”

The BRIGHT Run, founded in 2008, is an annual walk/run held at the Dundas Valley Conservation Area in September to raise money for breast cancer research. This year’s event on Sept. 11 will be virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. More information on the BRIGHT Run may be found at

“The announcement event for the BRIGHT Run chair may be watched here:

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