Dr. Zahra Timsah holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in healthcare with focus on cancer therapy and drug discovery. She also holds and MBA in pharmaceutical management. Dr. Timsah is the founder and CEO of American Medical Center Laboratories, LLC; an AI company in Houston, Texas that specializes in AI in healthcare but has recently expanded to include other sectors. Dr. Timsah has been in the field for more than 14 years and is passionate about improving the healthcare industry with the power of healthcare.
Asif: Tell us about your educational background and your journey in this highly promising sector.?
Dr. Zahra: I started my journey with data science and coding at the age of 17 as a hobby. However, I still decided to pursue an educational trajectory in healthcare, After obtaining my bachelor’s, master degree and PhD with a focus on cancer biology and oncology, I did a short postdoctoral study at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas then transferred to the University of Leeds, UK as a tenure-track faculty member. Our hard work in the field was rewarded with multiple prestigious grants and high impact publications. Still, I felt that something is missing and to actively take our discoveries to the patients and to the market, I needed to understand the pharmaceutical industry. So, I started with my career in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry after getting an MBA from the University of Leeds Business School. I was an Executive at multiple big pharma and startup companies in the healthcare industry and indeed I felt that we are proactively making a difference in people’s lives. Still, however, my passion for machine learning and deep learning grew as I transitioned in my career knowing that the huge unmet gap in scientific discovery and implementation desperately requires automation and cognitive artificial intelligence systems. This is where my journey in the field of AI in healthcare was born.
Asif: How did you get started in Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks? Please tell us about your ventures?
Dr. Zahra : I was working as an executive for a cancer immunotherapy company and we were trying to identify and create specific and personalized drugs given that in cancer therapy there is no such thing as one size fits all. Soon we realized that it is becoming very complicated, given the unique genomic and proteomic makeup for each patient, to succeed in this quest with manual research and human power. Given my background in cancer and machine learning, we created a one-of-a-kind artificial intelligence system that engineers via an intricate neural network system and tests cancer drugs that fits each and every patient’s immune system and genetic makeup. It was an instant hit!
I dream about changing the healthcare industry, so I proceeded further with my AI efforts in the healthcare industry. My team and AI co-founded American Medical Center Laboratories, that designs and implements AI systems and products that disrupt the healthcare industry. All of our projects have noble causes driving them and we strive to attract the attention of groups and influential personnel to help us maximize our outreach and help people using the power of AI.
Recently, and given that polypharmacy (taking multiple prescriptions at the same time) is the main cause of hospitalization and in many cases mortality among the elderly, we have developed a medication management system for geriatrics that monitors their prescription drug intake while factoring in variables such as age, diseases, genetic makeup, diet, and lifestyle. This smart system successfully negates drug-drug interactions, harmful side effects and unneeded drugs to optimize the patient’s health and quality of life.
We did not stop there; another recent example is a smart system that allows cancer patients to monitor the progression of their disease and share their experience on a free of cost platform. This system monitors the patient’s genetic/proteomic changes, pathology reports, lifestyle/diet changes, scans and medications to predict the best route of action and guide a clinical decision. The goal is to integrate intangible elements like behavior and psychological factors as well in creating multifactorial and comprehensive treatment options.
Asif: How do you see the impact of Data science and Artificial intelligence on the healthcare sector?
Dr. Zahra : It is a delicate area. It requires passionate people like us but also the support of the society and healthcare/humanitarian groups. We aim to democratize AI; making these platforms available to everyone in need of better and smarter therapeutics. That is what AMCL is all about; positive change! We don’t create disruptive systems and artificial intelligence to replace doctors and medical knowledge. NO! We create decision support systems and actionable platforms that together with human efforts mesh into a “collective” emotional and digital intelligence systems.
Asif: What would you advise to aspiring Data Science/AI candidates in the Healthcare Industry?
Dr. Zahra : Be passionate about positive change. Do it because you like it and not because it is a “hot area.” Don’t aim for the financial reward at the beginning. The money will come but focus on learning, experience and growth. AI is not something that can be learned in school; it is all about finding a problem, testing whether it can be solved via cognitive elements then trying to solve it via data science and AI. Once you identify these problems that you are passionate about tackling; find a company or mentor that shares your passion..then take it from there
Asif: Many people believe that Artificial Intelligence could bring the apocalypse, what are your views?
Dr. Zahra : We need to train the AI to explain itself to avoid the black box effect of hidden information, malfunction and unrequired or biased self-training. With clarity and transparency, humans can control AI efforts to avoid the apocalypse. AI should enhance and not eliminate human efforts. For that, we need to understand and control how it works and improves.
Asif: Which books have influenced your thoughts the most?
Both focus on intelligence but emphasize human elements which we should all keep in mind when working in the field of AI.
Asif: What are your views about MarkTechPost?
Dr. Zahra: I believe that what you are doing is unique and admirable. You are reaching out to domain experts to spread the knowledge on hot topics. We need more of these initiatives and articles! Great job!