Jo Bhakdi is the founder of Quantgene,a company that combines precision genomics, AI and a new perspective on medicine to detect disease at early stages.
Bhakdi galvanized a network of world-leading scientists and engineers to tackle computational and clinical challenges in DNA sequencing to accelerate the pace of modern medicine, arming us with a tool that is changing the future of human health.
A pioneer in precision medicine, Bhakdi’s utilization of big data combined with advanced DNA analysis detects dangerous diseases with unprecedented accuracy before symptoms even occur. Unlike other DNA-centered initiatives which look for variants against our reference genome to detect abnormalities, Bhakdi’s company can read millions of DNA fragments at a time, achieving single molecule precision; truly changing the game for healthcare and making reactive medicine a thing of the past.
Bhakdi holds a Masters in Economics and Psychology from Tubingen University,
one of Germany’s leading academic institutions, with a focus on financial theory
This is one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve done and if Quantgene delivers on its promise, which I believe they will, expect to be hearing a lot more about Jo Bhakdi in the years to come.
I think I broke a show notes record for this one….here’s a summary:
- Started the company in 2014 working on this as a side project
- Working on a product that detects 12 different cancers at early stages in the blood
- Next Gen Sequencing, Machine Learning Breakthrough
- Family background in Medicine
- Breakthrough idea in 2014 – the idea on pattern recognitions – specific way looking at DNA in the blood!
- Massively increasing the precision
- First a theory – so compelling that it became the main focus
- Checked the idea with leaders in the field in UC Berkley
- Raising funding and working up the ladder of improbability
- How the idea formed?
- Key takeaway – if an idea everyone can have, you’re not in a good place
- Have an idea about a very specific area – it’s unlikely others will have it
- Cancer Cells don’t have the same DNA – these are the ones to look for?
- Sequencing Cells – how would you know it’s a cancer mutation or not?
- In 2009 collecting huge data sets on cancer but too big to analyse
- Asking the right question and the data sets are available
- Try to make a systematic analysis of this data sets
- Identifying someone in his network that can do the magic
- Get the Data Set – key idea
- Ask the Right questions – Screening, Patterns, Minimize and see what comes out?
- A Polymath – Financial, Innovation, Health and other areas
- Always been broadly interested in a topics
- Logical thinking & Critical Thinking are key
- Know what you know and what you don’t know!
- Using First Principles to get to high level of certainty
- Eg – Data Set & Mutation to detect patterns, then you have a solution to detect cancer
- Fascinated by the idea of solving any problem
- Just how to generate the right knowledge – the conviction was always there
- EQ & IQ – What is the overlap?
- IQ = Intuition Quotient
- People with very high IQ – often the miss something like big picture or common sense
- Maintaining both levels is the biggest challenge to maintain both levels
- Trying to Stay Stupid is difficult
- The T Paradigm – go very broad and then pick one thing go very deep!
- Approaching Complex Problems – go very deep and then jump back out
- The importance of taking a step back – a universal cancer detection test will work!
- Smart people often get sucked into digital thinking
- Mapping the T model to the System 1 and 2 thinking
- Intuition – thinking, experiences and logical – the Jo Bhakdi theory
- The Brain is a giant complicated processor
- When you stop thinking about a problem, it goes into the subconscious
- The problem then gets worked on a lower resolution
- Intuition works on the lower level taking in many building blocks
- Examples from science of how this could work in history – the Benzol Molecule
- How the solution came in a dream – the snake biting its own tail
- Experience and Thinking uses the logical and provides a solution!!
- Quantgene – what are the motivations to go in this direction
- Living way below our potential in medicine – Being very health conscious and a desire for more healthy life – ridiculous speed of innovation currently
- A general obsession about being a pioneer – pushing the boundaries and disrupt entire industries
- These are the normal people
- The impulse of most children is to solve problems – this is what happens with Gates, Jobs, Musk, etc
- Why does nobody study Elon Musk? Decipher and study how he thinking
- Revolutionize Education – taking a step back and ask what is the purpose of Education?
- What was the purpose back when it was created – to educate the peasants to be able to read!
- Think more about our best and brightest
- Create more great minds by studying great minds
- Set up pioneer training camps – not very hard!!!
- Not be so passive, be more active and try to solve a problem
- Drapier University for Super Heroes
- Elon Musk founded a school for his kids
- Start-up acceleratorprecursor for Universities like Y Combinator – creating a pressure cooker of innovation – 3 months to get it done! – Why is there no studies of this?
- Education is the central civilization technology
- The downside is very limited with the upside is key
- Inspirational figures like Elon Musk
- Deep appreciation for the American Culture & the Innovation spirit
- Using podcast to spread ideas
- Drawing energy from people that do things a little difference – making people more daring and pioneering
- Learning from Mistakes & Failure and a process to unpack it
- Not good at celebrating victories
- Strategy is to minimize the emotions in both directions – success or failed
- Do it, get the information and continue
- How to balance work & life?
- Switching off by working on different focuses
- Building a pioneer academy
- Not work life balance, focusing on different things in parallel
- Deficits in life and sacrifice working 24/7
- The precision medicine – western v eastern
- Ignorance and Arrogance
- A misunderstanding that science means everything needs to be explained by defined scientific concepts
- It’s the opposite – you need to be open
- Real science – observation – imagination and theory building and then creating evidence of these theories – start and end in evidence
- Eastern is all about the evidence
- Clinical Studies is all about $$ – without it you can’t do the trials
- The only way to do studies is with population and big pharma with $$
- Great medicines out there that aren’t be funded for Clinical trials?
- To provide it for FDA costs $50m – it’s impossible – the Baking soda example
- Needing a plan how to make the money back is key
- Are you a Leader? Not liking people that want to be led!
- Taking the initiative and trying to motivate others to do things too!
- Show others WHY it’s worth doing something, not WHAT
- Paining the vision or future
- Lead and inspire by example
- Goal Setting & Getting things done?
- First Principles focused – a high level of certainty when you’re right!
- Planning is key – being agile
- Within these strategic objectives – be very flexible all the time
- Plan everything excessively but be aware everything will change – be ready to change the plan on the spot!
- The Next Steps for Jo & Quantgene
- Likely to have something to change people’s lives
- Taking the roll out step by step
- Being doctor driven initially
- How testing works? 45 times days
- A mutation landscape of a patient?
- Outline the steps next
- Single molecule precision – stay on top of cancer
- Staying on Top of Cancer – reducing the fear and probability is very low
- Overlaps with 23&Me, Ancestoray.com
- Not looking forrisks or probability of cancer – they look for cancer!
Check out more about Quantgene and Jo at the following links:
Website – www.Quantgene.com