Cutting-Edge Sciences: Brain-Computer Interface & Cancer Immunotherapy

Jun 27 2018
Written by NYU Shanghai

On June 10,  NYU Shanghai hosted the 41st Future Lecture Series, bringing AI industry professionals, medical researchers, computer scientists and medical researchers together to discuss the cutting-edge science of brain-computer interface and how artificial intelligence and big data might facilitate cancer immunotherapy. 

Shirley Xiaole Liu, professor of biostatistics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, introduced the main approaches to dealing with cancer prognosis and detection from the perspective of mutation and gene expression, and how scientists formulate immunotherapeutic plans via CRISPR screening techniques.



According to Liu, the road to eliminating cancer is a long one. As co-director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she explained the function of immune checkpoint inhibitors, and analyzed how cancer therapy might be optimized by the utilization of cancer gene expression profiles, CRISPR screening, and machine learning in immunotherapy.

“Target therapy, immunotherapy, epigenetic therapy and personalized medicine are supposed to be combined together to treat cancer,” she said, explaining that in traditional Chinese medical terminology, employing target therapy could reduce inflammation, while immunotherapy strengthens the body’s resistance towards illness.

“Epigenetic therapy could balance the immune system and personalized medicine is the ultimate remedy to specific disease,”she added, sharing future research aspirations of exploring immunotherapeutic studies through AI and big data.



After shedding light on the latest developments in AI and brain-computer interface (BCI) Gang Pan, computer science professor from Zhejiang University and executive member of the Council of Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence predicted future trends and applications.

Pan elaborated on hypothetical future scenarios, including the possibility of computer hardware being able to spontaneously reflect human consciousness and thought. He posited that with the help of artificial intelligence systems, our senses would extend beyond their current limitations in the future.

Opinions on immunotherapy, brain-computer interface, AI and other cutting edge technology fields were exchanged during a dialogue session featuring Dr. Tengfei Xiao, co-founder and CTO of GV 20 Oncotherapy, Professor Lianghua He from the College of Electronics and Information Engineering of Tongji University, and Zheng Zhang, tenured professor of computer science at NYU Shanghai.

“AI is a feasible way for us to systematically understand the mechanism of tumors and  mutations,” Xiao said. Zhang maintained that “having the right distributional properties and ultra-low sample acquisition cost” were the key fundamental issues to be checked, while Liu affirmed that “data sharing and interdisciplinary seminars are necessary” to solving cancer issues.

NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor  Jeffrey Lehman expressed hopes that the Future Lecture Series would excite more young people to learn how cutting-edge technology will impact the future.



The Future Lecture Series is a science seminar-series open to the general public. Once a month, Future Forum invites insightful and forward-thinking scientists to serve as guest speakers and conduct an interdisciplinary dialogue with renowned entrepreneurs in relevant industries, aiming to disseminate scientific spirit and to enlighten scientific thought.