Left photo, left to right: Yannie Lai, Fatema Chowdhury, Victoira Bukta, and Vincent Lee. Photos courtesy of CDDx.
Collaborative Disease Diagnostics, or CDDx, is a startup co-founded by an interdisciplinary team of life science and computer science undergraduates: Fatema Chowdhury, Global Health and Cell & Molecular Biology; Yannie Lai, Biology & Physiology; Victoria Bukta, CompSci, Focus in AI & Systems; and Vincent Lee, Physics & CompSci).
The students met during the Faculty of Arts & Science Entrepreneurship Program (ASEP), led by the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL). The 12-week summer program was co-instructed by DCSIL co-directors and co-founders, Mario Grech and Helen Kontozopoulos.
Here’s an update from the CDDx team about their progress in the weeks after the ASEP program:
Combining our interests in machine learning, computer vision, public health and biology, we want to create a solution to the problem of malaria misdiagnosis.
Our solution, an image recognition software for malaria diagnosis, will be implemented as a mobile application used in conjunction with lens attachment; thus, providing a portable solution. Having spoken to Dr. Ian Crandall, malaria researcher at University of Toronto, we have validated the need for rapid and accurate diagnosis of malaria. He continues to be our advisor and will be pilot testing our software once we create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the upcoming year.
Given that our solution involves a combination of both life science and computer science concepts, our inclusion in two campus linked accelerators, Health Innovation Hub (H2i) and DCSIL, has been incredibly beneficial. The mentors from both accelerators have given us advice and opened opportunities allowing us to grow our knowledge and network. Some opportunities include:
Additionally, we were published in Review of Undergraduate Computer Science (Fall 2015), which lead to a networking opportunity at Google Toronto headquarters.
Recently, we received the Startup of the Year Award at the Venture Capital Investment Competition held at the Rotman School of Management at U of T. Participation in this competition allowed us to solidify our presentation skills and understand what investors expect of a new company.
We are still in the early stages of development, but we are ecstatic about how our idea can expand beyond malaria identification. If you would like to get in touch with us, or for more information, please visit our website.