Opportunities for AI + Comp Med Expands with Optum Labs AI in Healthcare Hub

Opportunities for AI and Computational Medicine Expand with Launch of Optum Labs AI in Healthcare Hub


October 2022

UCLA Technology Development Group (TDG) and Optum Labs, the research and development arm of UnitedHealth Group, announce the launch of a research collaboration to advance artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in healthcare.

AI and ML are changing how we navigate the world, from product recommendations in online shopping to real-time traffic reports on mapping apps. There is immense potential to leverage these technologies to personalize and improve the cost and quality of healthcare.

UCLA’s Department of Computational Medicine spearheads a campus-wide effort to investigate AI in healthcare. The department is collaborating with Optum Labs – which, through research expertise and strategic collaborations, works to build equitable, affordable, and effective healthcare solutions leveraging big data insights, AI, and ML – to discover the future of healthcare.

Two researchers pivotal to the success of the collaboration are Dr. Eleazer Eskin and Dr. Eran Halperin.

                           Elezar Eskin      Eran Halperin 


Dr. Eleazar Eskin, inaugural chair for the UCLA Department of Computational Medicine, has worked to better patient care through artificial intelligence and genomics. His discoveries in the lab are applied to some patients through UCLA Health.

Dr. Eran Halperin, is currently on leave as Professor of Computer Science, Computational Medicine, Anesthesiology, and Human Genetics at UCLA and has recently joined Optum Labs as Senior Vice President of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Dr. Halperin’s work focuses on machine learning in medicine and computational genomics.

In addition to Dr. Eskin and Dr. Halperin, dozens of UCLA researchers are studying AI, genomics, image analysis, prediction models, algorithms, sensors, and more. UCLA’s unique strength of having a prestigious medical school, a world-class research hospital, and a nationally ranked engineering school accelerates efforts to improve patient treatment. Through the collaboration with Optum Labs, these researchers have the opportunity to expand their studies.

The collaboration between UCLA Technology Development Group’s Industry Sponsored Research department (TDG-ISR) and Optum Labs includes a joint steering committee with initial funding of $1M from Optum Labs. A call for proposals is currently open and will close Oct. 31st.

UCLA TDG CEO Amir Naiberg comments, “This collaboration was born at LABEST (Los Angeles Bioscience Ecosystem Summit Twenty twenty-two - the annual UCLA bioscience conference). We were happy to host Ranju Das, CEO of Optum Labs, and his leadership team at a round table discussion during the conference. We are excited to create a collaboration that will bring AI closer to helping patients. “

“UCLA’s world-class faculty combined with Optum Labs’ reach and expertise create a tremendous opportunity to make healthcare better for everyone through the applications of the latest AI and ML technology,” said Rahul Bhotika, Senior Vice President of Research at Optum Labs. “This Optum Labs AI in Healthcare Hub is the beginning of a collaborative research effort set to drive great impact in the future of healthcare.”

“The Optum Labs AI in Healthcare Hub, in partnership with UCLA, supports UnitedHealth Group’s mission – helping people live healthier lives,” said Ranju Das, CEO of Optum Labs. “Working together with academia and research institutions, we will accelerate advances in equitable, personalized healthcare through the strategic application of responsible Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.”

The kickoff event is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at UCLA Mong Auditorium, Engineering VI