Global Business School for Health


Spotlight On: Dr Adam Dubis, Programme Lead for MSc Digital Health and Entrepreneurship

25 June 2023

We speak to Dr Adam Dubis, Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Research and Programme Lead for MSc Digital Health and Entrepreneurship at UCL's Global Business School for Health, about his career, research interests and why he's excited to be a part of the UCL GBSH team.

two men having tea

Dr Adam Dubis is an enterprise-minded educator, specialising in image and health data analysis. He started his career in the US, studying biology and chemistry, and participating in his university’s health entrepreneurship courses. Upon entering graduate school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, his background mixed with engineering resulted in the commercialisation of several analytical tools and methods for ophthalmology. Moving to London in 2013, he has continued his enterprise activities consulting for a number of start-ups, as well as commercialising health analytics through patent filings and spin-out companies. Since the beginning of his postgraduate work, Adam's focus has always been on translating research from in silico to bedside. Adam has sought to continually build personal and team development, tackling new challenging areas for himself and working in multidisciplinary teams to deliver successful outcomes through the commercialisation of several devices and algorithms. 

Some of Adam's recent technologies have been spun out into DeepEye gmbh, a digital health company focused on developing SaMD solutions for ophthalmology, where Adam serves as an academic founder. Setting up this company in the quickly evolving space of AI for healthcare has further exposed him to the many key debates between stakeholders (regulatory, medical and patient rights). With technical expertise, working within a medical environment makes Adam ideally placed to use these experiences to contribute to the evolution of the digital health field. He was eager to share these insights through the development of the Digital Opportunities in Entrepreneurship module and Dissertation Project Module within the UCL Bioscience Entrepreneurship MSc Programme. He will bring this innovation, enterprise and teaching expertise to the Global Business School for Health.

Tell me more about your background – it would be great to find out more about your education and career so far.

After a brief exposure to commercial aspects of science in my undergraduate degree, I have largely been self-taught in the field of biomedical enterprise. This has been a steep learning curve, but an incredibly rewarding journey. I am keen to share what I have learned, and elements of the networks that I have built with others so that their journey may be filled with more success than failure. This was my motivation to move from a medical department to the Global Business School for Health. One of the lessons I learned on my journey so far is that understanding how health innovation works makes you uniquely placed to push that innovation through, and tends to instil the passion needed to make the implementation work. However, the skills needed to work that innovation into enterprise are different from traditional biomedical education and even from traditional less human care-focused business interests. To be most successful in the digital health space you need to where both metaphorical hats of biomedical and enterprise. Teaching others this duality is something that I am passionate about and pushed me to move to the Global Business School for Health. 

My research work and knowledge base have always focused on using the data science and population health methods of large dataset acquisition, curation and modelling to explain biological processes. I oversee a research group that has three primary aims. The first is studying the structure/function relationships underlying normal vision and retinas suffering from a number of inherited retinal diseases. This work has expanded to help develop trials to test a number of potential therapies to reverse or stop retinal degeneration. The next aim of the group is to use the eye as a model of the brain and investigates retinal vascular function in systemic and neurological disease. The aim of this section of the lab is to develop more sensitive tests of vascular function and neurovascular coupling that may someday be used in treatment trials for vascular disease. The last part of the lab is interested in applying deep learning techniques to retinal image analysis. The goal is to develop classification tools that may be used to expand ophthalmic expertise to the developing word and increase research efficiency through improved image analysis.

What are you most excited to teach the first cohort of UCL GBSH students?

UCL and the city of London are both amazing places, truly at the intersection of many different schools of thought. UCL has always prided itself on being transformational and positively disruptive. The launching of the first business school dedicated to health is only the first step in the process. The ability to be positively disruptive is something that I am keen to teach the first cohort of students. Being positively disruptive can take many different forms. The concept of making money from healthcare is met with mixed reviews globally. Being positively disruptive in thinking challenges this misconception, that business of health does not always need to be for making the most money, but rather about making the best care possible and knowing this will also equate to making positive contributions. 

In the digital health space, and the greater healthcare space, there is something called the innovation abyss. This is used to describe the concept that there are ever-increasing amounts of technology and other innovations being developed, however, few traverse the abyss and become implemented in a single healthcare system, let alone globally transformational. However, there are strategies that can be implemented to improve the chances to traverse this abyss. Exploring these with the students is a second key area I am looking forward to teaching the first cohort of students.

What contribution do you want to bring to the school and future students? 

I look forward to bringing my working knowledge of the fast-moving field of digital health. Having worked in the biomedical space for a number of years as a world-leading innovator, I am positioned to show others how to identify the key inroads to new innovations. I also look forward to showing students how to take their ideas and build them, navigating the ever-changing regulatory landscape and ultimately making them into world-changing revolutions. The goal of this course is to give the students the skills needed to chase their dreams and accomplish their goals. I look forward to my contributions to making that happen.

Learn more about the MSc Digital Health and Entrepreneurship