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Towards a Deeper and More Human-centric Medicine

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Eric Topol, M.D.
Gary & Mary West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine
Executive Vice President
Professor, Molecular Medicine
Director & Founder, Scripps Research Translational Institute
Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Topol, Executive Vice President of Scripps Research, is widely known for his development of genomic and digital tools coupled with artificial intelligence analytics geared to individualize medicine. He is among the most cited researchers in medicine. In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207 million grant from the NIH to help lead the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, now called the All of Us Research Program, a prospective research initiative enrolling 1 million diverse participants in the United States. His research is on individualized medicine, using the genome and digital technologies to understand each person at the biologic, physiologic granular level to determine appropriate therapies and prevention. An example is the use of pharmacogenomics and our research on clopidogrel (Plavix). By determining the reasons for why such a large proportion of people do not respond to this medication, we can use alternative treatment strategies to prevent blood clots.


The subtype of AI, deep learning, has recently been used for a variety of medical applications, particularly image interpretation, across many disciplines. It is early, but these deep neural networks have considerable transformative potential to promote accuracy, streamline workflow, synthesize data for both clinicians and patients, promote patient autonomy, and greatly enhance the patient–clinician relationship. To date, prospective validation studies are quite limited, and we need to confront such vital issues of how AI can unintendedly worsen inequities and discrimination. The goal, which may be considered counter-intuitive, is to use this technology to make medicine more human.

The page was last updated on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 1:15pm