Sultan Meghji, Founder, Reformation Medicine
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Listen (4:20) The end of technology as a specialty
Listen (4:12) Sequencing devices still a bottleneck for clinical genomics
Listen (4:39) How to become a bioinformatician in six months
Listen (4:39) Basic scientists vs. technicians
Listen (8:19) Going through the Industrial Revolution of digital health
Listen (5:05) Do you think about bioethics?
Listen (4:49) Yes to regulation, and yes to access for everyone
Data scientists like Sultan Meghji are a highly valued species in today's world. Beginning his career at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he worked on original internet technologies, Sultan has used his expertise in several industries, including finance, air transportation, and now biotechnology.
We've had Sultan on for a couple shows already, and his broad experience and far reaching vision made him an obvious choice for our series, The Bioinformatician Bottleneck.
"We could graduate ten times what we're graduating every year for a decade, and I still wouldn't be convinced that we have enough [bioinformaticians]," he says in today's interview.
What to do about it? Sultan has suggestions, one of which is to have a "Khan Academy style program for How to Become a Bioinformatician in 6 Months." What about the years it takes to train great basic scientists in an age when biologists are already being called "mere technicians?" Sultan says technicians can handle much of the work of commercializing research.
Sultan goes on to suggest there are other important bottlenecks, including the sequencing tools space. Does he stop to think about bioethics? And is he for or against FDA regulation of personal genomic information? Today's show is far reaching and centered around Sultan's goal of bringing genomics to the masses.
"It's almost like the Industrial Revolution of digital healthcare," he says. "We're going to call it something else, but . . .at some point my blood, or some part of me, is going to go into a diagnostic black box, and out is going to come some recommendation that a doctor didn't actually look at. And I'm going to take it to the bank."
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