Speaker Profile

Ph.D., Solutions Executive – Life Sciences, IBM Watson Health

Dr. Van Willis brings a unique blend of laboratory research, business strategy, and cognitive solutions experience to solving life science industry problems. Currently he acts as a solution specialist for Watson for Drug Discovery, helping clients understand how AI can work collaboratively with humans to accelerate biomedical research. Prior to Watson Health, Van led strategy engagements within ICON’s Commercialization Strategy and Science division and conducted laboratory research focused on the origins of autoimmunity, treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and development of novel bacteriocins for preventing pathogenic colonization of turkeys.


AI and Data Sciences Showcase: Applications of AI in Drug Discovery
With millions of scientific research articles published each year, innovation in the life sciences suffers from knowledge waste and lack of knowledge integration. IBM Watson for Drug Discovery addresses this issue by mining large corpuses of literature and data to help scientists accelerate biomedical research. Using advanced analytics and machine learning, the platform can also predict novel relationships, as demonstrated through our recent work with Barrow Neurological in ALS disease, and Pfizer in immuno-oncology, among many projects.