On July 14, 2021, NTT Research announced that it had named Dr. Joe Alexander (M.D., Ph.D.) the new director of the MEI Lab, succeeding the founding director, Dr. Hitonobu Tomoike, who has assumed the position of Research Professor at NTT Basic Research Labs in Japan. In a newly posted video, Dr. Alexander, who also continues to hold the title of Distinguished Scientist, MEI Lab, discussed his vision for the lab and its research, short-range and longer-range goals, and strategy for the lab and its bio digital twin initiative.
In terms of vision, also described on the MEI Lab website, Dr. Alexander said the MEI Lab’s “principal direction is to revolutionize and individualize healthcare using bio digital twin technologies.” Within that overarching concept, the near-term goal is to build the infrastructure for the NTT Heart model (this includes the Cardiovascular Bio Digital Twin and the in vitro Heart-on-a-Chip digital twin platform); the mid-term goal, extending over the next decade, to deliver an autonomous, closed-loop therapeutic system; and the longer-term goal, encompassing multiple organs and neurohumoral control systems, to deliver comprehensive, NTT-led bio digital twin technologies. The MEI Lab strategy is to begin with acute care, in particular myocardial infarction, then move into chronic heart conditions, and finally, by leveraging new technologies such as non-invasive sensors, to make improvements in health and wellbeing and preventive medicine. To hear Dr. Alexander’s complete answers, please watch this informative 5-minute video.