Dr. Sam Armato

University of Chicago, Associate Professor of Radiology

Dr. Sam Armato is a leading researcher in the field of lung cancer imaging and automated nodule detection, chair of the Committee on Medical Physics at The University of Chicago, a founder of the Lung Image Database Consortium, and lead author on the paper introducing the LIDC/IDRI dataset from which the predictive models emerged. His expertise is in the development and evaluation of computerized techniques for the quantitative analysis of medical images and the assessment of tumor response to therapy.  He has recently organized three challenges sponsored by the AAPM, SPIE, and NCI (the LUNGx, PROSTATEX, and PROSTATEx-2 Challenges).  Dr. Armato obtained his PhD in Medical Physics from The University of Chicago in 1997.

Keyvan Farahani

National Cancer Institute, Program Director for Image-Guided Interventions

Dr. Keyvan Farahani is the Program Director for Image-Guided Interventions (IGI), Cancer Imaging Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI).  In this capacity, he is responsible for the development of NCI research initiatives that address diagnosis and treatment of cancer through integration of advanced imaging and minimally invasive interventions, including nanotechnologies.  He has led NCI initiatives in Oncologic IGI focused on small business development, early phase clinical trials, and image-guided drug delivery research.  Since 2013, in collaboration with national and international academic groups, he has led organization of many computational challenges related to imaging, digital pathology, and radiomics of cancer, conducted through international scientific societies. He Chairs the NCI Quantitative Imaging Network’s Task Force on Challenge and Collaborative Projects.  Dr. Farahani obtained his PhD in Biomedical Physics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993.

Matt Hiznay

PhD Candidate in Molecular Medicine and Lung Cancer Survivor

Matt Hiznay is a five-year survivor of metastatic lung cancer and a Ph.D. candidate studying molecular medicine. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and grew up in the small town of Poland, Ohio. He studied chemistry at John Carroll University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then enrolled in the University of Toledo College of Medicine to become a physician.

In August 2011, twenty-four-year-old Matt was eager to begin his second year of medical school when a persistent dry cough sent him to his family doctor. A flurry of scans, biopsies, and appointments followed, after which he was diagnosed with ALK-positive metastatic lung cancer—despite never having smoked a day in his life! In a twist of fate, on the same day that Matt learned he had lung cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new targeted therapy that inhibited the mutated ALK protein that was causing the cancer. After a harrowing hospital stay that included Matt suffering cardiac arrest, the targeted therapy worked; Matt’s cancer was in remission by November. When the cancer returned in 2012, Matt decided that he wanted to focus his career on researching the genetic vulnerabilities underlying cancer. He withdrew from medical school to join Cleveland Clinic’s Molecular Medicine Ph.D. Program. Although Matt’s cancer has recurred multiple times, a combination of traditional chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and his enrollment in two clinical trials have kept the cancer controlled. In August 2016, Matt celebrated the fifth anniversary of his diagnosis—a feat only one-percent of stage IV lung cancer survivors witness. Matt is married to the former Ally Stojkoska, his college sweetheart; they live in Lakewood, Ohio. Matt plans to graduate from Case Western Reserve University with his Doctor of Philosophy degree in January 2018.

Jin Paik

Harvard University Crowd Innovation Laboratory and NASA Tournament Laboratory, Director of Project and Research Development

Jin H. Paik is the Director of Project and Research Development at the Crowd Innovation Laboratory (CIL)/NASA Tournament Laboratory (NTL) at Harvard University. In his role, he serves as the lab’s general manager. He works to develop strategic vision at the lab and directs project and research activities. He oversees the development of open innovation projects through partnerships with NASA, federal government agencies, partner academic institutions, and research institutes. He advises organizations and firms on adoption innovation strategies and prize-based contests for solving complex problems. He has worked extensively on programs ranging from improvements NASA’s International Space Station to machine learning uses for medical imaging. He currently works to shape impact on precision medicine through contest development with the Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. Prior to joining the CIL team, he worked at the Harvard Kennedy School and Mathematica Policy Research. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from Harvard University.

Pankaj  Patel

Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, Board Member and former Chief Development Officer at Cisco Systems

Pankaj Patel was Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Cisco Systems, Inc.  Mr. Patel reported into the CEO as the Engineering head of the company’s $38 billion product and solution portfolio.  He drove the business and technology strategy across Cisco’s Routing, Switching, Wireless, Security, Mobility, Video, Collaboration, Data Center and Cloud offerings delivered by a global team of over 26,000 engineers. Mr. Patel is a proven results-oriented and seasoned technology leader with 25+ years of experience developing highly scalable products and services by building and leading large, high-performance global engineering organizations, setting clear vision, directing strategy and delivering against goals. He is passionate about translating strategy to execution, and delivering the best experience for the customer.

Mr. Patel retired from Cisco in October of 2016 and now serves on the Board of Directors of several startups. He is focused on incubating, investing, and advising startups with their strategy, product development, and go-to-market as well as helping them scale.  Patel is also a mentor and sponsor to numerous employees throughout the industry.

Dr. Rinat Sergeev

Senior Data Scientist & Chief Scientific Advisor, Crowd Innovation Lab/NASA Tournament Lab at Harvard University

Dr. Rinat Sergeev is Senior Data Scientist & Chief Scientific Advisor at the Crowd Innovation Lab/NASA Tournament Lab at Harvard University. Rinat works as a head of data science team, and a lead science and technical expert on exploring and utilizing crowdsourcing approaches in application to the data science and algorithmic challenges, coming from NASA, Business, or Academia. In his role, Rinat provides full guidance and support on the way of the project from learning the area and formulating the problem, to controlling the challenge execution and analyzing it’s outcome, working closely with all the parties involved. Rinat received his PhD in Quantum Mechanics in Ioffe Institute, Saint Petersburg. Following his innate curiosity, he pursued challenges in a variety of academic fields, from Semiconductors to Immunology and Epidemiology. His research interests include conceptual analysis, analytical approaches and models in multiple areas. His personal interests include Math puzzles, strategic games and politics.

Dr. Wilson Tsai

John Muir Health, Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgical Program

Dr. Tsai is the Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgical Program at John Muir Health, is board certified in thoracic surgery and has been a member of American Association for Thoracic Surgery since 1996.  Dr. Tsai is committed to providing his patients with the latest advancements and treatment options.  Since his appointment to the directorship at John Muir Health, he has established a minimally invasive thoracic program that specializes in all aspects of benign and malignant esophageal and lung diseases.

Kush Varshney

IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Research Staff Member and Manager

Kush R. Varshney is a research staff member and manager in the Data Science Department at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. He received the Ph. D. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. He applies data science and predictive analytics to human capital management, healthcare, olfaction, public affairs, and international development. He conducts academic research on the theory and methods of statistical signal processing and machine learning. His work has been recognized through best paper awards at the Fusion 2009, SOLI 2013, KDD 2014, and SDM 2015 conferences. Dr. Varshney is co-director of the IBM Science for Social Good initiative.

Guneet Walia

Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Senior Director of Research & Medical Affairs

Dr. Guneet Walia joined ALCF in 2014 to oversee the foundation’s research programs. She has a distinguished career as a multi-disciplinary research scientist with expertise in oncology and infectious disease biology and 9 years of experience in the laboratory working in molecular biophysics, biochemistry and drug development. Most recently she worked at the Prostate Cancer Foundation as Manager, Scientific Programs, where she managed PCF’s medical affairs, the global Knowledge Exchange Enterprise and grants portfolio of over $500 million. Her knowledge and experience in scientific alliance management, program management, science policy and biomedical research are all critical skills that she will use as ALCF’s first Director of Research & Medical Affairs.

Guneet has published numerous scientific papers and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Award and the Intel Science Talent Discovery Award for the North Zone of the Pan-Country Competition. She holds a PhD in molecular biophysics and M.S. in Biological Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science, and a B.S. with Honors in Microbiology from the University of Delhi. When not in the lab, looking through a microscope or reading a scientific journal, she enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures and cuisines. Guneet calls herself an internet-addict and a technology enthusiast.

Technical Judging Panel

Aaron Abajian

Radiology Resident, University of Washington

Aaron Abajian completed his medical degree at Yale University and is starting residency in preliminary surgery-diagnostic radiology at the University of Washington. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Stanford and undergraduate degrees in computer science, mathematics and biology from the University of California, Irvine. Broadly interested in the application of computer science to medicine, Aaron has worked as a software engineer in the radiology informatics industry. His worked has helped radiologists view medical images in the cloud and has improved the accuracy of clinical documentation. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys running a small business and exploring the scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

Tiferet Gazit

Algorithms Developer, Algotec

Originally from Boston, Tiferet studied Physics and Math at Brown University, then completed a Masters in Computer Science at MIT. She currently lives in Tel Aviv, working at Algotec to develop computer vision and deep learning algorithms that aid radiologists in the interpretation of 3D medical images. She is generally passionate about developing AI algorithms for social good.

Ivan Gonzalez

Research Fellow, MGH/HST Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

Ivan Gonzalez is a Research Fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he investigates degenerative diseases of the human brain. His research interests are PET reconstruction algorithms, kinetic modeling of PET tracers, and applications of machine learning to biomedical imaging. Before joining the Martinos Center, Ivan worked as scientist in several research institutions developing computational models to study strongly interacting quantum systems.

Jason Hostetter

Diagnostic Radiology Resident, UMD Medical Center

Jason Hostetter MD is a radiologist in at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, and founder of, an educational medical imaging platform. He has been programming for the web for more than 10 years, and loves developing better interfaces and workflows for medical applications. Evangelist for open data and bringing medicine into the internet era.

Isaac Slavitt

Co-founder and Data Scientist, DrivenData

Isaac is a co-founder at DrivenData, where he works on the data science competition platform and leads data science and data engineering projects from concept to completion. He holds a master's in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Previously, he received a BS in Operations Research from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and spent seven years as a Coast Guard officer serving in a variety of operational and quantitative roles.

Adriana Romero Soriano

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Montreal

Adriana Romero is a post-doctoral researcher at Montreal Institute for Learning algorithms, advised by Prof. Yoshua Bengio. Her current research revolves around deep learning techniques to tackle medical data analysis challenges, addressing impactful problems for society by paving the road towards enabling widespread usage of personalized medicine. Adriana received her Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona in 2015 with a thesis on assisting the training of deep neural networks with applications to computer vision, advised by Dr. Carlo Gatta. Her PhD included contributions in the fields of representation learning and model compression, with applications to image classification, image segmentation and remote sensing.

Eric Syphard

Chief Technologist, Booz Allen Hamilton

Eric is a Chief Technologist in Booz Allen’s Strategic Innovation Group, specializing in the delivery of data science applications across DoD markets. An expert in data engineering and analysis, he leads consulting engagements for DoD/Federal clients. Eric holds a master’s degree in statistics and certifications in Apache Hadoop Development (HDPCP) as well as Project Management (PMP). Prior to joining Booz Allen, Eric provided biostatistical support to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Project Managers

Reuben Cummings

Project Manager: Data Science and Community

Reuben Cummings is an international speaker, open source contributor, and technical trainer. He has over 10 years experience in business development, entrepreneurship, data analysis, and software development. As Founder & Managing Director of data analytics firm Nerevu Development, Reuben helps businesses make better decisions regarding their operations, customers, and products. Reuben holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chris Lamb

Project Manager: Software and Code Quality

Currently Debian Project Leader, Chris is a freelance computer programmer, author of dozens of free projects and contributor to 100s of others. Chris has been official Debian Developer since 2008 and is currently highly active in the Reproducible Builds sub-project for which he has been awarded a grant from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. In his spare time he is an avid classical musician. Chris has spoken at numerous conferences, including LinuxCon China, HKOSCon,, DjangoCon Europe, OSCAL, Software Freedom Kosovo and FOSS'ASIA.

In-Kind Sponsors

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