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Leading AI expert joins health tech start-up Thymia

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Dr Nicholas Cummins, a world-leading academic and lecturer in AI for speech analysis at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, is stepping into the start-up world and taking up an additional role as chief science officer at healthtech Thymia.

Co-founded by neuroscientist Emilia Molimpakis and theoretical physicist Stefano Goria, Thymia is developing AI-powered video games, based on Neuropsychology protocols, to make mental health assessments faster, more accurate and objective.

The startup raised £780k in pre-seed funding last year to develop it technology, expand their team and bring their pioneering mental health assessment tool to market. The round was led by Kodori AG and Calm/Storm.

As chief science officer, Dr Cummins will draw on a decade of research into how multi-modal machine learning can help our understanding of mental health conditions to develop Thymia’s AI and machine learning technology.

His work will focus on ensuring Thymia’s models are as effective as possible at ethically and conclusively detecting digital makers associated with mental illness. He will also carry out in-depth analyses of the rich physiological data collected by Thymia to better understand how cognitive and neurological disorders operate and manifest.

His analyses will be used to iterate and enhance the product on an ongoing basis, to ensure the platform’s clinical outputs are based on the very latest scientific research. As chief science officer, Dr Cummins will also lead ongoing investigations into how Thymia’s technology can be applied to a wide range of mental health conditions.

Dr Cummins says: “The application of machine learning to mental health conditions has been the focus of my career ever since my Bachelor’s degree. So joining the Thymia team felt like a natural fit – and one which I’m hugely excited about. In my new role I’ll be applying and expanding the research I’ve carried out in my career thus far.

“I’m looking forward to transferring my knowledge to new environments and real-world challenges. Thymia is building tools which can directly improve patients’ lives and have a real human impact. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that.”

Dr Cummins will bring many years’ academic, scientific and health sector expertise to his new role. His current research focuses on speech processing, affective computing and multisensory signal analysis, as well as the use of machine learning to understand mental health conditions. He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and has collaborated in landmark projects focusing on speech analysis in medicine with prestigious academic institutions worldwide.

He currently teaches a module on artificial intelligence in healthcare analytics on the applied statistical modelling and healthinformatics postgraduate course at KCL, and has previously written and delivered courses in Deep Learning and Speech Pathology.

He will be working at Thymia alongside his existing roles as Lecturer in AI for Speech Analysis at King’s College London.

Emilia Molimpakis, CEO and co-founder of Thymia, says: “We couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming Dr Cummins onto the team. His wealth of technical knowledge and expertise around what we’re building knows no bounds and we’re honoured that he has chosen to join us at such a crucial time in our journey.

“Nick will play a pivotal role in developing the fundamental machine learning models that underpin the Thymia platform as we prepare to roll out to clinics later this year. His expertise will be invaluable in ensuring our AI models are robust, ethical and as accurate as possible, so that we can deliver the very best clinical outputs. He has a vital role to play in ensuring we’re constantly improving and innovating to empower clinicians with better tools – and to ensure patients are receiving the very best care for their mental health.”

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