In 2018, Dr. Brandon Morton joined the Lithero team as the Vice President of AI Technologies.  Dr. Morton is a machine learning researcher who focuses on using Natural Language Processing, a.k.a. the way computers analyze and understand people’s everyday speech.  I sat down with Dr. Morton to find out a little more about the man behind the keyboard.

Q: What is your primary job at Lithero?

Morton: I am the Vice President of AI Innovation. I am responsible for building out the machine learning architecture and eventually the team that will power LARA.

Q: How do you think Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are changing the life sciences industry?

Morton: I think NLP and more generally AI, are having a major impact on the industry. I’ve read about several instances where AI is helping spur drug discovery. NLP is helping Lithero make document reviewing more efficient.

Q: What are Lithero’s primary strengths as a software company? What unique value do we bring?

Morton: I think Lithero is in an interesting position as first movers in this category. Because of this, we have to be adaptable to our clients’ needs. This flexibility and the ability to work closely with our clients makes us unique. Personally, I have a background in building systems that help perform tasks with no clear correct answers. This is useful for Lithero and our customers because there is no one-size fits all solution to document review.

Q: What, in general terms, are some of the challenges you see us facing in the next 1-2 years?

Morton: In the next 2 years, I hope that we have moved past our initial feature offerings. I think we will have to educate clients on what machine learning can add to their process. I think we will also need to start thinking about how we can generalize the lessons learned with our first customers to new companies.

Q: How do you think we’ll face them?

Morton: I think that continuing to keep up with the latest advances in NLP (the field moves so quickly) and machine learning will be crucial.  Also, building a strong research team is going to really push us over the edge.  It will allow us to refine areas of the initial architecture and also add features that we weren’t able to include in the initial version.  I think that we also need to get to a point where we are innovating novel NLP techniques especially useful in the pharmaceutical domain.

Q: What are your goals (in general terms) for Lithero and your work there in the next 1-2 years?

Morton: My first priority is to develop the initial roadmap and architecture for LARA. I’d also like to build out a team of researchers and developers that can keep LARA at the forefront of this new space we are carving out.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work?

Morton: Outside of work, I like to try new hobbies.  I have been a home brewer since 2012 and am thinking about submitting some of my beers for competition.  I also love photography.  You can check out some of my prints (like the one below) at urbanvantagephotography.com.