This story originally appeared on MIT News on September 17, 2018.
Last month, MIT and Community Jameel, the social enterprise organization founded and chaired by Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78, launched the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic). This is the fourth major collaborative effort between MIT and Community Jameel, which was represented by Fady Jameel, president of Community Jameel International, and Hassan Jameel, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia.
J-Clinic, a key part of the MIT Quest for Intelligence, will focus on developing machine learning technologies to revolutionize the prevention, detection, and treatment of disease. It will concentrate on creating and commercializing high-precision, affordable, and scalable machine learning technologies in areas of health care ranging from diagnostics to pharmaceuticals, with three main areas of focus:
J-Clinic’s holistic approach will utilize MIT’s strong expertise in cellular and medical biology, computer science, engineering, and the social sciences, among other areas.
“The health care system has no shortage of data,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “But it has far too little access to the kinds of tools and experts who can translate population-level data into clinical insights that could make it possible to tune care precisely for individuals. Building on MIT’s deep expertise in fields from cancer to neuroscience, and our longstanding connections to Boston’s world-class medical community, J-Clinic offers an accelerated path to creating new technologies that could help make health care more effective everywhere—from villages in developing nations to major teaching hospitals.”
“We are grateful to Community Jameel for their humanitarian vision, boldness, generosity, and continued enthusiasm for collaborating with MIT on their efforts to help make a better world,” Reif adds.
J-Clinic will leverage MIT’s strong relationship with industry and Boston-area hospitals to test, integrate, and deploy new technologies. It will also seek to advance patentable research that could be commercialized and spun out through licensing to startups and pharmaceutical companies putting these advances into real-life practice.
“The J-Clinic will positively impact the world by accelerating the creation of machine learning technologies and algorithms that will make preventing, detecting, and treating disease more precise, affordable, and personalized,” says Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who will serve as J-Clinic’s chair. “It will be a truly multifaceted effort that amplifies synergies between the life sciences and the latest research in human and machine intelligence. J-Clinic will inspire innovation for the betterment of humanity.”
As part of its work, J-Clinic will support research projects, education, workshops, and other activities at the intersection of machine learning and biology.
“Channeling MIT’s machine learning expertise into health care will transform medical outcomes for people around the world,” says Fady Jameel, president of Community Jameel International. “Health care has been an important sphere of activity for Community Jameel since our earliest days, from founding the first nonprofit hospital for physical rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia, to partnering on the King Salman Center for Disability Research. J-Clinic continues our journey of supporting cutting-edge research and driving innovation in health care, in Saudi Arabia and around the whole world.”
This marriage of machine learning with clinical and biological insights aspires to spur a global transformation in the health care and medical fields with the aim to save the lives of millions of people, spawn new technologies, and improve the entire health care industry around the globe.
The Community Jameel gift to establish J-Clinic is part of MIT’s current $5 billion Campaign for a Better World and is consistent with Community Jameel’s focus on creating a better future. Earlier collaborations between MIT and Community Jameel include the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), established in 2003, which seeks answers to poverty in a changing world; the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS), created in 2014, which addresses food and water scarcity and safety issues as the result of population rises and climate change; and the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), launched in 2017, which pursues innovative, scalable, and sustainable educational innovation.
Community Jameel and MIT have also collaborated in the Abdul Latif Jameel-Toyota Endowed Scholarship since 1994 and the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition and Saudi Startup Competition.