Hyam Omar Abbass Ali is a PhD student from Sudan in a joint program between the Mycetoma Research Center (MRC), University of Khartoum, Sudan; INSERM lab, University of Tours, France; and IDP lab, University of Orleans, France. She also works as a full-time lecturer at the University of Khartoum, Faculty of Mathematical Sciences.
Her PhD project involves developing an automated diagnostic method for a neglected tropical disease called Mycetoma. Using pathological microscopic images and artificial intelligence methods, she together with her team, investigate Mycetoma infection in the tissue images. Sudan is the epicentre of Mycetoma and this disease affects poor rural comminties where there is a significant lack of diagnostic facilities with expert pathologists. The project, therefore, aspires to deliver an accurate and straightforward tool that could be used in these endemic areas.
As a lecturer, Hyam has the unique chance to shape the minds of young students and guide them through their journey to become prominent mathematicians and future leaders in the community.
While at AIMS Ghana, Hyam got to know how mathematics could be the backbone for several disciplines in biology, economy, and many others. She understood the significance of networking with scientists from various domains and interests. She also had the chance to participate in several awareness sessions for secondary pupils, where she introduced the importance of science and empowered their eagerness to take a career in science. This motivated her to focus on sharpening her communications skills and incorporate her knowledge in mathematical sciences with applications that directly impact humans. She operated all of what she had learned towards her community through different activities and projects on her return to Sudan.
All of this gave her the confidence to commence her PhD studies in a work that embraces interdisciplinary research approaches of pathology, artificial intelligence, and image processing. Being the only person from a non-biological background at the MRC was challenging, yet she achieved remarkable progress in this project that eventually led her to receive the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talent Awards, Sub Saharan Africa program in 2021.