Gunnar Carlsson is one of the most renowned mathematicians in the world. He is Ayasdi’s President and a co-founder and has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from Stanford, where he was Chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1995 -1998.Over the past 35 years, Gunnar has taught at the University of Chicago, University of California, Princeton University, and since 1991, Gunnar has been a professor of mathematics at Stanford University, where he has been a thought leader in a branch of mathematics called topology, the study of shape. Read his full bio.

Interview with Gunnar Carlsson from Ayasdi

Q: What need is Ayasdi addressing?

A: Ayasdi is pioneering the application of artificial intelligence to value-based care by targeting two of the most complex problems in healthcare: population risk stratification and clinical variation management. The ability to create fine grained populations with multi-factorial co-morbidities and then to design precise care process models for those groups will fundamentally change the practice of medicine and demands AI to manage the complexity of the task.

Q: What are the products and/or services Ayasdi offers/develops to address this need? What makes Ayasdi unique?

A: Ayasdi has a general-purpose AI platform that is powered by Topological Data Analysis – a unique framework for machine learning that combines and synthesizes different statistical, geometric and machine learning algorithms. That platform also supports the rapid creation of applications and Ayasdi has two such applications in the value-based care space. The first is the Population Risk Stratification application which identifies fine grained patient populations using unsupervised learning. The second is the Clinical Variation Management application which designs precise care process models for both acute or long-term care conditions.

Two elements make Ayasdi unique. The first is that Ayasdi can justify, in atomic and human understandable detail, what the machine is doing and/or recommending. Second, Ayasdi can employ the full spectrum of learning, from unsupervised to supervised. The unsupervised capabilities are critical for the highly complex data challenges that characterize medicine.

Q: What is your role at Ayasdi and what excites you about your work?

A: As a founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer at Ayasdi, my work is quite diverse, covering data science, research, professional services and sales. I am also responsible for the Collaborations program at Ayasdi, whereby we provide low-cost or no-cost licenses to key members of the scientific community to help better mankind.

This work is immensely fulfilling and together, Ayasdi and its collaborators have made major discoveries in diabetes, asthma, brain trauma, disease states and other areas of medicine. Seeing that work featured in various journals is quite exciting.

Q: When thinking about Ayasdi and the domain Ayasdi is working in, what are some of the recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?

A: In terms of AI, we are on the verge of a radical transformation on how we practice data science. For the last number of years, much of the work has gone into making deep learning more effective – from a performance perspective, an accuracy perspective and an interpretability perspective.

What is happening now, however, is a realization that unsupervised learning needs to occur first. Unsupervised learning allows us to find the patterns and relationships that exist in data – without having to ask questions. Given the size and complexity of the modern healthcare dataset, there are simply too many possibilities for us to iteratively ask question after question. Unsupervised learning provides a principled starting point by identifying what matters in the data without the bias associated with the creation of an objective function.

This will have a tremendous impact on healthcare as the complexity of the challenge grows daily. With patient, billing, omics and other data at our disposal finding the relationships that matter require the ability to understand the patterns and structure of the data – something the human mind simply cannot do.

Further, we are working towards real breakthroughs in the explainability and justifiability of artificial intelligence.  They include the development of novel models that explain complex phenomena within data and within the applications – shining a light into the corners of even the darkest of black boxes.

Q: What are the short-term challenges that Ayasdi and its peers are facing?

A: I think that there is a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding AI at this point. This is due to overly ambitious claims of some large companies that have failed to deliver.

Having said that, even the skeptics are seeing valuable progress in the form of small, but important wins for AI. Those small wins offer a vibrant story of transformation, re-invention, and improved patient experience.  It is these small wins, in concert with each other, that will alter the trajectory of healthcare in the U.S. and beyond.

Interview with Daniel Chen from IGM Biosciences

Q: Checkpoint inhibitors, particularly with PD-L1/PD-1 targeting agents, have benefited a broad range of patients with cancer. How will we improve on this?

A: It’s true that PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors have led to durable responses in a subset of patients, and survival benefit in many of the patients treated- either as monotherapy or combination.

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Call from PMWC 2019 Silicon Valley Program Committee – We Must Accelerate and Deliver on the Promise of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine advancements are real as demonstrated by the high volume of molecular, “precise” drugs on the market, which are based on extensive molecular and translational understanding of the specific drug targets.

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#AI Play in Patient Diagnosis? How Can We Prepare the Next Generation to Make Sense of Enormous Amounts of Health-related Data?

What role should artificial intelligence play in patient diagnosis? How can we best prepare the next generation to make sense of enormous amounts of health-related data? These were just a few of the questions explored at the 15th Precision Medicine World Conference held at Duke University September 24-25, 2018.

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Interview with Daniella Beller, Manager, Maccabi Research Institute Biobank

Q: What makes the Maccabi Research Institute biobank unique?

A: To explain the uniqueness of the Maccabi Biobank (named “Tipa” in Hebrew which means “drop” or “just a little”), first you must know a little about Maccabi.

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Why We Need Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) To Foster Drug Discovery

Investments in pharma R&D has substantially increased over the last decades. Yet there appears to be no clear correlation to the number of newly approved drugs. This fact is accompanied by ever-increasing healthcare costs, fueled by an aging population and the parallel rise in the chronic disease burden.

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Precision Medicine: A Decade of Improving the Standard of Care

In January, PMWC will host its 2019 Silicon Valley event, the largest Precision Medicine conference in the world with over 2,500 attendees gathering at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We are humbled and honored to have reached this stage of growth and are looking forward to continuing our work with key stakeholders and decision makers across the industry to ever strengthen this forum for exchange of critical and timely topics, to move the field of precision medicine forward and to improve the Standard of Care.

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Interview with David Hong from Karius

Q: What need is Karius addressing?

A: Physicians often have difficulty pinpointing the exact pathogen that is causing disease. Conventional diagnostics like blood cultures or PCR can have poor sensitivity due to pretreatment with antibiotics, the breadth of potential pathogens present, and the requirement for invasive procedures to access deep-seated infections.

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Interview with Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD from HL7

Q: What need is HL7 addressing?

A: For more than three decades, HL7 has provided the platform to enable global health data interoperability. This is more important than ever, as the cost of healthcare has increased exponentially, and the complexity of clinical evidence has grown to an almost unmanageable state.

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Interview with Eden Haverfield from Invitae

Q: What need is Invitae addressing?

A: Our mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medical practice to improve the quality of healthcare for billions of people. Invitae is uniquely positioned to answer some of life’s most serious and complex questions with the highest quality genetics and at an affordable price.

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Call by Ralph Snyderman (Duke U.) for Big Changes to Get to the Next Level of Precision Medicine

Beyond next-generation gene sequencing and developing diagnostic tools and targeted therapies, theoverall approach to clinical care has to be re-envisioned to fulfill the promise of precision medicine. Care must move from sporadic treatment of episodic disease (a reactive mode) to predicting disease and then acting to prevent and mitigate it (a proactive mode).

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Interview with William Hearl From Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

Q: What need is Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. addressing?

A: Immunomic Therapeutics’ nucleic acid vaccines have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response, including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory.

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Interview with Ralph Snyderman from Duke University

Q: What are some of the critical contributions that academic institutions and medical centers are making to implement and accelerate precision medicine?

A: Over the past decade, the field of precision medicine has created technologies enabling far more personalized and effective health care delivery. Many of the most dramatic advances have come in the field of oncology but targeting care to the needs of the individual is rapidly achieving broader applications.

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Interview with Catherine Reinis Lucey from UCSF

Q: What research are you or your lab focusing on and why, and what problem(s) are you trying to solve?

A: My work involves designing, implementing and studying innovations in medical education that allow our medical schools to fulfill our social contract to improve the health of our communities and reduce the suffering of our patients.

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Interview with Gunnar Carlsson from Ayasdi

Q: What need is Ayasdi addressing?

A: Ayasdi is pioneering the application of artificial intelligence to value-based care by targeting two of the most complex problems in healthcare: population risk stratification and clinical variation management.

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Interview with Nikole Kimes from Siolta Therapeutics

Q: What need is Siolta Therapeutics addressing?

A: Chronic diseases, including inflammatory diseases such as asthma, now represent the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

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Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 16th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 20-23, 2019. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
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