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Dr. Olivia Lesslar’s Journey from Medicine to Tech

Interview

Recorded live at VivaTech 2024 in Paris, this podcast episode features Dr. Olivia Lesslar; a leading expert in integrating technology and medicine. Dr. Lesslar shares her journey from traditional medicine to the tech industry, highlighting her work in psychoneuroimmunology – the term used to describe the interactions between one’s emotional state, nervous system function, and immune system – and medical innovation.

Early Medical Career and Unique Interests

Dr. Olivia Lesslar began her medical career in Australia, where she trained as a medical doctor. Her interest in unconventional areas of medicine, such as the “tail ends of the bell curve,” set her apart early on. “I was interested in the tail ends of the bell curve because that’s where you’re going to find innovation,” she explains. This curiosity led her to explore lifestyle and functional medicine, eventually drawing her toward psychoneuroimmunology.

Introduction to Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology, which intersects psychology, behavioral sciences, the nervous system, immunology, and hormones, became a focal point for Dr. Lesslar. She describes it as “the hard science behind the soft science of mind-body medicine.” This field resonated with her holistic approach to patient care, where she considered emotional and psychological factors alongside physical symptoms.

Bridging the Gap to Technology

Dr. Lesslar’s transition into the tech industry was serendipitous. Her unique perspective on problem-solving aligned well with tech entrepreneurs. “I look at problems differently, and funny enough, tech entrepreneurs look at problems differently,” she shares. This alignment led to her involvement with various tech ventures, including an accidental venture partner role with Sustainable Alpha and her position as science director for Sens.ai.

Embracing AI, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Innovation

Although new to AI, Dr. Lesslar quickly saw its potential in healthcare. Surrounded by experts, she delved into AI’s applications in medical practice. She highlights, “AI has been really helpful in trying to aggregate and distill all that information in a way that’s palatable to practitioners and patients alike.” Her ability to bridge medical knowledge with tech innovation became a valuable asset in her career.

Ongoing Contributions and Future Directions

Today, Dr. Lesslar continues to innovate at the intersection of medicine and technology. Her work spans multiple companies and projects, all aimed at improving patient care through advanced medical technologies and holistic approaches. Reflecting on her journey, she emphasizes the importance of integrating diverse expertise to drive meaningful progress in healthcare.

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