Maryam Sadeghi

Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: CEO and co-founder, MetaOptima Technology, Age 36

Maryam Sadeghi’s career is noteworthy for, among other things, a fearless approach to tackling outsized challenges such as moving across the globe, getting her PhD and founding a company. Lately, she and her company, MetaOptima Technology, have taken on the task of making it easier for people to identify skin cancer, to raise the chances of catching it early and thereby increase the chances of survival.

“I saw the problem and I saw that there was actually a solution, and I thought, ‘Oh, we can make a difference,’” Sadeghi said.

While working towards her PhD in computer science, Sadeghi felt it was time to enter Vancouver’s fast-growing medical technology industry. Her studies specialized in computer visualizations, but Sadeghi wanted more than to just find a job in her field – she wanted to help people.

As CEO of MetaOptima, she worked to create a smartphone attachment called MoleScope that identified suspicious moles and lesions. When she realized her product was effective, it was bittersweet as her close friend was the first one to successfully identify melanoma with MoleScope.

“That was a moment where I was shocked; I didn’t know what to do,” Sadeghi said. “And she told me, ‘Maryam, this is great, this is exactly showing that MoleScope works. If I found my melanoma with MoleScope, other patients can do this as well.’”

It was difficult for Sadeghi to celebrate her success under the circumstances, but remaining positive is in her nature. Even though she spends her days creating and viewing computer visualizations of cancer, she can’t help but see a kind of beauty in what she creates.

“I want to work with images; I want to work with visual things,” said Sadeghi. “And for me, the visual representation of the cancer cell is like a galaxy and stars. I can see cancer cells or signs or structures in the mole, and for me it’s not scary, it’s actually beautiful that you can identify things and find information that can save people’s lives.”

Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit: www.biv.com/events/40under40.