Interdisciplinary Research

Syed Ahmar Shah

Syed Ahmar Shah, PhD - Associate Professor at the Usher Institute.

Innovation Fellow - Syed Ahmar Shah

What is your research focus?  

Soon after graduating as an electronics engineer with specialisation in signal processing, I developed a keen interest in working in the healthcare domain and the idea of transforming healthcare through technological innovations was deeply appealing.  I have now been working with healthcare professionals over 15 years, with an MSc and PhD in Biomedical Engineering.  

My research is focussed on the use of data science to transform healthcare. More specifically, in my research I aim to:

(i) develop, validate, and deploy AI  algorithms to support healthcare practitioners manage chronic conditions in primary care;

(ii) support patients to monitor and self-manage their chronic condition with mHealth technologies. I am currently using asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as key exemplar conditions.

However, the long-term aim is to derive transferable lessons, tools, and methodologies that could then be applied to other chronic conditions.

Overall, my research goal is to lead the world from the currently reactive, hospital-centric approach towards a pro-active approach and shift the paradigm of chronic disease management in the community.

What is your innovation idea? 

My overarching mission is to empower healthcare researchers to leverage data science and transform healthcare. More specifically, I aim to create an online platform that serves as a one-stop solution for healthcare researchers seeking to upskill in data science, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A) applied to healthcare. I envision a comprehensive platform that integrates various components necessary for effective learning, collaboration, and professional development in this niche domain. The platform will offer curated content, personalized learning paths, practical application through case studies, expert mentorship, research paper updates, and a collaborative community.

Why does this idea matter, what impact will it have on the world and what problem will it solve? 

This idea matters because it addresses several important aspects:

Impact on the world: By empowering healthcare researchers to leverage data science and AI, this idea has the potential to transform healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes, and drive innovation in the field. It enables researchers to unlock insights from healthcare data and apply advanced analytics to tackle complex healthcare challenges.

Problem that will be solved: The idea solves the problem of the gap between healthcare expertise and technical knowledge in data science. It provides a specialized platform that offers tailored courses, practical case studies, and mentorship, bridging the interdisciplinary gap and equipping researchers with the necessary skills to effectively apply data science in healthcare.

Personal significance: This idea matters personally because it aligns with my expertise and passion for applying data science and AI in healthcare. It combines my engineering background, research experience, and interest in healthcare to make a meaningful impact. It provides an avenue to share knowledge, support researchers, and contribute to the advancement of healthcare through data-driven solutions.

Overall, this idea matters because it has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by equipping researchers with the necessary skills, fostering collaboration, and accelerating the application of data science and AI in the industry. It addresses a crucial need, and its success can positively impact patient care, medical research, and the overall efficiency of healthcare systems.

What is the future of your research?

The future of AI research applied to healthcare holds immense promise, offering transformative advancements that can revolutionize the field. However, we are still in the early stages of harnessing the full potential of AI in healthcare. Many studies conducted so far have been proof-of-concept and conducted offline. To truly unlock the power of AI, it is essential to validate and test algorithms in real-world scenarios through live trials and gather substantial evidence.

Healthcare, unlike other industries, presents its own unique challenges. It operates within a complex ecosystem with various stakeholders, including healthcare providers, payers, and caregivers. Navigating regulatory barriers and successfully transitioning AI products from offline testing to widespread adoption poses a significant challenge. Additionally, as the field is still nascent, the development of best practices is an ongoing process.

Therefore, it is evident that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done in advancing AI research in healthcare. Addressing these challenges, overcoming regulatory hurdles, and establishing a robust evidence base are critical steps in realizing the full potential of AI to revolutionize healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.

What motivated you to apply to the Bayes Innovation Fellows programme and what do you hope to gain from it?

There were a few reasons that motivated me to apply to this programme. First, the programme's time buyout will allow me to devote one day per week to working on my idea and this dedicated time will enable me to make significant progress on executing my startup idea. Second, this programme will provide me with a unique opportunity to develop and launch my platform in a supportive and collaborative environment and help me consolidate the roadmap for the startup and develop a business plan. Third, the programme's focus on research commercialization and entrepreneurship aligns with my own goals, and I believe that the training and guidance offered through the programme will be invaluable in helping me to bring my idea to market.


The Usher Institute