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Meet Geetha Manjunath, an Indian scientist who used AI to build a system that can detect breast cancer

Meet Geetha Manjunath, an Indian scientist who used AI to build a system that can detect breast cancer

Geetha Manjunath is the founder and CEO of Niramai Health Analytix, which helps people stay healthy and live longer. More than 96,000 people in India die from breast cancer every year, and she wants to stop them. She uses three things to solve the problem: AI, Machine Learning, and thermal infrared (IR).

It is the only company globally that uses AI-based thermal image processing and machine learning algorithms to screen women for breast cancer with a high level of accuracy and reliability. Manjunath has 17 patents, a Ph.D. in AI from IISc, and an MBA from Kellogg’s School of Management, where she learned about business and AI. Niramai has come up with several ways to help doctors and patients in remote villages and talukas.

Key Highlight:

  • Geetha Manjunath is the founder and CEO of Niramai Health Analytix.
  • The company uses AI, Machine Learning, and thermal infrared (IR) to screen women for breast cancer.
  • More than 96,000 people in India die from breast cancer every year.
  • Man junath has 17 patents, a Ph.D. in AI from IISc, and an MBA from Kellogg’s School of Management, where she learned about business and AI.
  • She was also the only woman in boardroom meetings during her 25-year career at C-DAC, Hewlett-Packard Labs, and Xerox Research Center India.
  • The BioSpectrum Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, the Economic Times Accenture Business Powerful Women Award 2020, and the Business Today 30 Most Powerful Women in India are all given to women in their 30s and 40s by the Accenture Vahini Innovator of the year award.

It was 1991. India was about to launch a supercomputer that would beat many other more advanced countries. They worked at the Center for Development of Advanced Computing, where Vijay Bhatkar was in charge. They were all brilliant and worked very hard (C-DAC). Rajiv Gandhi was very interested in what was going on.

In C-DAC, a young woman just out of college had joined the research team to help with the project. It took her a year to get bored and leave the integration team. It was honest: “Because I can do more.” She was then a member of the research wing.

Her goal has always been to do what she wants to do. As a result, she has done this almost every step of the way in her life. Entrepreneur: “I found out the hard way that you have to be clear with people about what you want and what you can do.” “Women tend to think that they can’t do things.” We settle for less and accept any job that comes our way.”

The founder and CEO of a company called Niramai Health Analytix want to stop people from dying from breast cancer because they didn’t need to. In India, there are over 96,000 deaths from breast cancer every year. In her four-year-old health-tech company, she leads a small but growing group of people who use AI, Machine Learning, and thermal infrared (IR) temperature maps to develop new ways to help people who are sick. There are now more than 50 Niramai units in hospitals and diagnostic centers in 10 Indian cities where they are used.

As a child, she dreamed of computers, took things apart to figure out how they worked and fixed her radio at home. She was the star student who defied the pressure of relatives to become a doctor and chose to engineer instead. She was the bereaved family member who wanted to heal by finding a way to cure breast cancer, and the daughter who always kept her father’s words of encouragement in her heart: “Do what you love.”

When she was a girl studying computer science, she was one of only two girls in her class. She was also the only woman in boardroom meetings during her 25-year career at C-DAC, Hewlett-Packard Labs, and Xerox Research Center India, where she worked for more than 20 years. “You have to think of something bigger than yourself, have faith in your intentions, and then move on.”

Accenture Vahini Innovator of the Year and Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 are two awards Manjunath won.

In this case, the Trailblazer is what you call someone who is

The signature product of Niramai is called Thermalytix, and it promises to be a game-changer. “More accurate than mammography”: In a few minutes, it does not hurt, does not use radiation, does not touch, and is “more accurate than mammography.” It analyzes about 450,000 temperature points, which is impossible to do by hand. This is what she said: “Our strength is in how accurate AI is.” “We work with more than 50 hospitals and diagnostic centers to provide this test, and we have excellent data.”

Manjunath is an inventor who has 17 patents, a Ph.D. in AI from IISc, and an MBA from Kellogg’s School of Management, Chicago. He has the skills and knowledge to be a successful entrepreneur. Niramai is getting attention, too. The BioSpectrum Women Entrepreneur of 2020, the Economic Times Accenture Innovator of the Year 2020, and the Business Today 30 Most Powerful Women Award have all been given to women in 2020. They were given these awards for their products, strategic steps, and ability to raise money, which makes their company stand out.

Her favorite award, on the other hand, came in 2019. It said, “Meet India’s only AI startup on CB Insights’ list of the 100 most promising.” As a result, thanks to the data-driven research and intelligence platform, Niramai was the only Indian startup to be on the global map that year. She said that over 36,000 women had been helped by Niramai’s AI-based thermal image processing and machine learning algorithms so far.

She has learned a lot about the world and herself as a woman. She has also found out that one woman in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes. And one woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes, so that’s how many women die each day. 60% of women who have breast cancer are still alive five years after treatment in India, compared to 90% in the US, Cancer India says.

COVID-19 will be screened.

The pandemic showed how useful the technology Manjunath and her team came up with was. In March 2020, even though the coronavirus outbreak shut down hospitals and offices, forcing people to work from home, her team did their best. A tricky question: “Can we handle this problem with our strength?” They worked together to figure it out. Portable solutions have helped many people, doctors, and hospitals be more accurate with their work in the last year.

The first was a better way to check for fever. She said that the thermal cameras used at airports, hospitals, and other public places only measure the temperature of people. They can make mistakes and take a long time, she said. The Niramai solution was automatic and could also tell if there were problems with the airways. Our job was to check people out as they walked by. We made a list of how many people passed by, their body temperature and raised the alarm so that someone could do something.

Then came home breast health screening services for women at high risk of breast cancer because of their family history, breast cancer survivors who needed to be checked often, and people who couldn’t go to the hospital because of Covid. Because the tests were done at home, “We found that women were very willing to have these screenings.”

Along with the doctors in Karnataka and the Indian Institute of Science, Manjunath came up with the ‘Covid SWIFT’ (Simple WhatsApp Image interpretation at Fingertips) Rapid AI Solutions. They worked together to make this. The goal was to help doctors and their patients in remote villages and talukas, even far away. A lack of quick access to Covid RT-PCR tests meant that many people died of the disease before help could arrive.

People in Karnataka could use Covid SWIFT free of charge in July 2020. A doctor would take an X-Ray of a patient’s chest and send it to them over WhatsApp on their cell phone to see it. Based on the analysis, they would start treatment, then check the results of the RT-PCR tests that came a few days later to make sure they were correct. “It helped with early detection and better treatment right away,” she told us. “Over 1,000 people were helped, and more than 500 doctors used and liked our solution.”

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