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Amber Simpson

Amber's Biography

I am a Computer Scientist that specializes in medical image analysis and computer-aided surgery. I run my own research group at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, one of the best cancer centers in the world. I’m from Hagersville, a small farming town in Ontario. I went to Trent University in Peterborough for my undergraduate studies in mathematics and computer science because they admitted students without high school calculus. I almost failed calculus, but turned things around because of a great professor, and went to graduate school at Queen’s in Kingston where I fell in love with medical computing.

Assistant Attending Computational Biologist, Department of Surgery – HPB Service / Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.My research group focuses on the development of novel computing strategies for cancer treatment, from algorithms for advanced image processing to surgical device development. In collaboration with oncologists, radiologists, and surgeons, I leverage the extensive collection of medical image data and high patient volume at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), to provide enabling technologies toward precision oncology.

MSK is one of the top ranked cancer centers in the world. MSK researchers have led the way in developing new ways to diagnose and treat cancer. We maintain one of the world’s most dynamic programs of cancer research, with more than 120 research laboratories that are focused on better understanding every type of the disease. MSK also conducts one of the largest clinical research programs in the world, which includes areas that focus on basic laboratory research, translational research that bridges discoveries made in the laboratory and those made in the clinic, and mathematical and computational research directed at analyzing and interpreting biomedical data.

I’m fortunate that I can pick the projects that I work on so I enjoy almost everything. I am my best when working on hard problems with no known solution.

Two in five Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes. My group is improving the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer for those people.

I developed a method for extracting quantitative information from CT scans. I recently showed that we can use this method to predict which patients will have a cancer recurrence so we can prevent it. In research, problems are rarely solved, new ones are simply created. Now my group needs to validate the method so we can use it in clinical trials.

Teamwork is integral to transdisciplinary research. I work with radiologists, surgeons, basic scientists, medical oncologists, medical physicists, biostatisticians, and informaticists every day! It’s impossible for one person to understand the complexities of all of these areas.

I am motivated by the potential to improve the cancer cure rate.



Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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