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Mercy Asiedu

PhD Institution: Duke University Cohort: 2019 Fellow Postdoctoral institution and lab:

“Learning to cure” group, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Specialism: Biomedical Engineering, Global Health and Machine Learning

Growing up in Ghana, Mercy is well-attuned to the limitations that can exist within healthcare systems in under-resourced settings, especially in the area of women’s health. Her academic and research curiosities have been driven by understanding how these health inequalities exist, and how she can use her expertise in biomedical engineering to address them through advances and innovations in technology.

After completing high school in Ghana, Mercy was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Rochester in the United States. She was initially on the pre-medical academic trajectory, hoping to become an ObGyn physician to help address women’s health disparities. Along her path, Mercy discovered a passion for biomedical engineering, which ultimately led her to pursue a PhD in this field, alongside a certificate in Global Health at Duke University. 

As part of her PhD, Mercy developed the Callascope, an imaging device and mobile application that allows for accessible, self-cervical cancer screening. She tested this device at Duke Medical Centre and in hospitals in Ghana, receiving highly positive results from the majority of women who used it. 

In her Schmidt Science Fellowship year, Mercy will be working with Dr Regina Barzilay at MIT to better understand novel machine learning techniques, especially those in natural language processing and computer vision. Driven by the potential impact of these innovative technologies in addressing global health disparities, Mercy will learn how they can be applied to early diagnosis and outcome predictions of women’s cancers.