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Industry Showcase 2024

Harnessing data and AI for future health and care
Synthetic biologist Professor Susan Rosser
14 Jun 2024

Almost 200 people from industry and academia came together yesterday for Edinburgh Innovations’ annual Industry Showcase and Dinner, this year on the theme of health technologies.

Academics presented cutting-edge research in the fields of biomedical informatics, engineering biology and casual AI, amongst others, and discussed how, by working with public and private sector partners, they are helping to address challenges in future health and care by leveraging technology, data and AI for good.

Professor Susan Rosser (main picture) presented her work on the University’s newly announced £14.25m UKRI-funded Engineered Genetic Control Systems for Advanced Therapeutics Hub. The hub aims to develop control systems for gene therapies to ensure that the therapies are active in the right tissue at the right time and at the right level.

She also highlighted her £8M EPSRC prosperity partnership with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, developing new cell lines for the enhanced production of biologic drugs. She said:

Industry doesn’t necessarily have the time or flexibility to do in-depth new research when it is focussed on manufacturing and optimising products. Academia is often concentrating on fundamental research. Partnership is key, and when academia brings the new technology and underpinning biological knowledge and industry implements it – that’s when the good stuff happens! ”
Ken Sutherland, President of Canon Medical Research Europe

Ken Sutherland, President of Canon Medical Research Europe, has been working with Professor Sotirios (Sotos) Tsaftaris for five years, most recently as part of the new EPSRC Hub for Causality in Healthcare AI (CHAI). CHAI aims to develop AI that can empower decision-making tools to improve challenging tasks such as the early prediction, diagnosis and prevention of disease. Mr Sutherland said:

Canon is a highly innovative company, consistently in the top five for patents filed in the US. Canon Medical works in the medical scanning field, for example, helping the NHS meet the demands of an ageing population for better diagnostics, including imagery.
Working with academics like Sotos gives us the competitive edge we need. He brings disruptive potential - an external perspective that allows us to step back and work on tomorrow’s products. If we’re only solving today’s problems, we’re not innovating. ”
Dr Andrea Taylor on stage at the National Museum of Scotland

Dr Andrea Taylor, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations, gave a welcome speech ahead of dinner in the main hall of the National Museum of Scotland, including this week’s news that the University was ranked first in the world for Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. She said:

At Edinburgh Innovations, it is our privilege to work with world-leading academics to bring their research to life in the extremely exciting area of health technologies. We are on the cusp of a digital era, in which we will likely see quantum computing drive drug discovery, machine learning detect neurodegenerative diseases from brain and retinal scans, and generative AI structure health records in real time. But while the innovation is ever-changing, the one constant is collaboration.
The flourishing culture of innovation at the University has placed us number one in the world. Across our three missions of climate and environment, future health and care and data and AI for good, we now plan to double the number of innovation-active academics, create a new innovation career pathway and build more strategic partnerships to help ideas take flight. ”

The talks by academics were recorded and will soon be available to watch.