Alexander Meyer of the German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB) has been granted a W2 professorship in “Clinical Applications of AI and Data Science” at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He is alumnus of the BIH Academy’s Clinician Scientist Program and funding recipient of the Valdiation Fund/SPARK-BIH and the BIH Digital Health Accelerator program.
Dr. Alexander Meyer, is currently training as a heart surgeon and Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) at the German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB). The focus of his new W2 professorship will be on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science in clinical cardiovascular medicine. The professorship is funded by the DHZB with resources provided by the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data at TU Berlin (BIFOLD), which Alexander Meyer has been involved in as a principal investigator since 2018.
In his career, Alexander Meyer has developed, among other things, a system based on big data that can be used to monitor the quality of surgical procedures in real time. He has also built a system that can make early predictions about potential complications in heart surgery intensive care units before the first symptoms even appear. This research project is currently being converted into a company – with the support of BIH’s Digital Health Accelerator – in order to market a related medical device.
Meyer established the Medical Data Science Group at the DHZB and, as Chief Medical Information Officer, has occupied a leading role in overseeing digitalization in medicine since mid-2020.
Data for medicine
As part of his professorship, the physician intends to further expand his interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research activities. His focus will be on systems to support physicians in making decisions as well as on data-based patient models, with the goal of creating a unique “digital twin” of each patient in order to plan and simulate the best possible course of therapy.
Alexander Meyer’s teaching concept includes new courses such as “Digital Data in Medicine” and “Machine Learning and Big Data in Medicine.”
“Data-driven medicine will have a profound impact on the prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” says Meyer. “I am delighted to be able to use my professorship to further develop this still relatively young field of medicine for the benefit of patients, and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me.”
Computer scientist and physician
Alexander Meyer completed vocational training as an IT specialist and worked as a software developer for two years before he began studying medicine at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. After gaining his practitioner’s license in 2012, he began his residency at the Kerckhoff Clinic in Bad Nauheim. In 2015, he transferred to the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the DHZB, led by Professor Volkmar Falk.
Alongside this career, Alexander Meyer also began his research and development activities in the field of medical digitalization, with a main focus on extracting relevant clinical information from the mass of routine data that is collected.
Support from the BIH
In January 2017, Alexander Meyer was accepted into the three-year Clinician Scientist Program at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). This program allows physicians to devote 50 percent of their working hours to clinical and basic research during their residency training. Since October 2017, Alexander Meyer has also received funding via the BIH’s Digital Health Accelerator program and the Validation Fund/SPARK-BIH.
He has raised around 3.5 million euros in third-party funding and has already been published in several leading scientific journals, including The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and NPJ Digital Medicine, as lead and last author respectively. Meyer qualified as a professor in spring 2020.