Guru Banavar is the founding CTO of Viome where he helped raise $150M from a list of top-tier investors including Khosla Ventures and Bold Capital Group. Viome offers insights into health and disease using host and microbiome gene expression. Guru led the development of a first-of-a-kind saliva-based early detection system for oral and throat cancers which won the FDA’s designation as a breakthrough device.

Prior to Viome, Guru was a global VP & Chief Science Officer at IBM and the founding VP of the Watson AI Research team.

Guru has received many awards including a Leadership in Technology Management Award and a National Innovation Award from the President of India. He has published extensively and holds more than 35 US patents. His work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, BBC, and NPR.

Listen and learn… 

  1. Why our healthspan is more important than our lifespan 
  2. How DNA to RNA transcription determines your health state 
  3. How to sequence your mRNA to understand how to optimize your diet and predict disease risk 
  4. What AI techniques can be used to develop personalized treatments 
  5. How to use data that varies across patients to make automated decisions for all patients 
  6. How Guru thinks about false positive prescriptions as a scientist when health and safety are at stake 
  7. Where the FDA is regulating how AI is used to make healthcare recommendations 
  8. Why it’s impossible to know the best diet for you without first understanding the composition of your microbiome 
  9. How to use biomarkers to turn your biological fingerprint into a data problem 
  10. Guru’s perspective on the ethical and philosophical implications of extending the healthspan 
  11. How digital twins will help perfect the ability to engineer biology 

References in this episode…