van der Schaar Lab

Spotlight on Alzheimer’s research projects

Thanks to ongoing support from Alzheimer’s Research UK, our lab has been conducting ongoing research into the application of machine learning to Alzheimer’s—a disease that is too often overlooked, despite affecting roughly 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and 1 in every 6 people over the age of 80 (according to the UK’s NHS).

It was very gratifying to see Bill Gates present a compelling summary, in a post on his GatesNotes blog earlier this week, of the enormous challenges facing researchers and clinical professionals in attempting to understand, mitigate, and treat Alzheimer’s.

We agree with Gates that data could hold the key to research breakthroughs for Alzheimer’s, and that we are finally moving beyond the widespread data availability issues that have crippled progress so far. We have Gates himself to thank for much of this recent progress, due to his role in the creation of the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI), which hosts the Alzheimer’s Disease workbench, a resource for collaboration and data sharing.

In providing the following overview of our lab’s key research projects, we hope to demonstrate that machine learning, driven by data, can offer powerful new tools in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Side-note: all of the projects below made use of data provided through the open-access Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study, which tracks disease progression for over 1,700 patients.

Temporal Phenotyping using Deep Predicting Clustering of Disease Progression

Changhee Lee, Mihaela van der Schaar
ICML 2020


Target-Embedding Autoencoders for Supervised Representation Learning

Daniel Jarrett, Mihaela van der Schaar
ICLR 2020


ASAC: Active Sensing using Actor-Critic models

Jinsung Yoon, James Jordon, Mihaela van der Schaar
MLHC 2019


Dynamic Prediction in Clinical Survival Analysis Using Temporal Convolutional Networks

Daniel Jarrett, Jinsung Yoon, Mihaela van der Schaar
Published in IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics, 2019


MATCH-Net: Dynamic Prediction in Survival Analysis using Convolutional Neural Networks

Daniel Jarrett, Jinsung Yoon, Mihaela van der Schaar
NeurIPS Machine Learning for Health Workshop 2018


Disease-Atlas: Navigating Disease Trajectories using Deep Learning

Bryan Lim, Mihaela van der Schaar
MLHC 2018


Forecasting Disease Trajectories in Alzheimer’s Disease Using Deep Learning

Bryan Lim, Mihaela van der Schaar
2018 KDD Workshop on Machine Learning for Medicine and Healthcare


Again, the above projects would not have been possible without the generous support of Alzheimer’s Research UK and their sponsorship of Dan Jarrett’s Ph.D. studentship.

If you are a clinician and would like to learn more about how machine learning can be applied to real-world healthcare problems, please sign up for our Revolutionizing Healthcare online engagement sessions (no machine learning knowledge required).

Mihaela van der Schaar

Mihaela van der Schaar is the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute in London.

Mihaela has received numerous awards, including the Oon Prize on Preventative Medicine from the University of Cambridge (2018), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2004), 3 IBM Faculty Awards, the IBM Exploratory Stream Analytics Innovation Award, the Philips Make a Difference Award and several best paper awards, including the IEEE Darlington Award.

In 2019, she was identified by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts as the most-cited female AI researcher in the UK. She was also elected as a 2019 “Star in Computer Networking and Communications” by N²Women. Her research expertise span signal and image processing, communication networks, network science, multimedia, game theory, distributed systems, machine learning and AI.

Mihaela’s research focus is on machine learning, AI and operations research for healthcare and medicine.

Daniel Jarrett

Nick Maxfield

From 2020 to 2022, Nick oversaw the van der Schaar Lab’s communications, including media relations, content creation, and maintenance of the lab’s online presence.