PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — For Hossam Zaki, the possibility of the unexpected so deeply inherent to scientific research is what make it so exciting.
“Every single day you do research, there’s no way to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “That’s one of the best things about it — no day is a boring day.”
A junior at Brown concentrating in biology and computer science, Zaki is researching ways that artificial intelligence technology can lead to better medical care. With AI becoming increasingly adept at identifying unusual patterns in anything from patient data to bloodwork to medical imaging, new possibilities abound to improve medical diagnostics, leading to earlier detection and treatment of disease, Zaki said.
“We are on the cusp of a new medical revolution, and I want to be a part of it,” he said.
Zaki first considered the impact that computer learning could have on the field of medicine while taking an introductory computer science course as a first-year biophysics concentrator. “I signed up for fun,” he said. “But once I took the class I realized that I needed to continue with computer science as well as biology — to figure out ways to combine the two.”
The course inspired him to pursue a summer internship at the European Bioinformatics Institute in the United Kingdom. While there, Zaki designed a computer program that digitally superimposes different protein structures, allowing researchers to see how mutations in certain proteins affect their overall structures.