Autonomous labs are not far away, says Microsoft Research chief during Medlab Middle East



  • The convergence of technology and medicine today will lead to an autonomous future for healthcare
  • Automation of processes, aggregation of data, moving to intelligent analysis and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to change healthcare in ways that we could have only imagined in the past
  • Dr Junaid Bajwa, Chief Medical Scientist, Microsoft Research, London, UK, addressed the audience at Medlab Middle East which continues live and in-person on 23 & 24 June in Dubai



    Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 22 June 2021: According to Microsoft Research’s Chief Medical Scientist, Dr Junaid Bajwa, we are living in a moment where technology, data and consumer demand is reshaping the healthcare market and redefining how value is defined and captured. This convergence of technology and medicine today, in delivering increasing levels of automation and soon increasing levels of artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to an autonomous future for healthcare.

     During his talk at the Laboratory Management Conference at Medlab Middle East, Dr Bajwa examined the role of AI in the laboratory. He said that more and more data in the medical care space, such as increasing data around genetics, about the environments, public health parameters and social circumstances that we live in, and data from wearable devices, is becoming more freely available.

    “Combining all of these data assets together is a computational challenge but leveraging that for the purposes of health is the next frontier of healthcare,” he explained.

    With the World Health Organisation predicting a 14 million shortfall in healthcare workers by 2030, he asked the audience to consider the role that technology can play in fulfilling that gap. “Healthcare is exorbitantly expensive with 5% of the population taking anywhere between 25-60% of those resources from the most vulnerable in society. We need to move to a healthcare system that is not just about diagnosis and treatment, but about recognising and prevention, and ultimately towards the personalisation and personal healthcare,” he said.

    In the laboratory, there are many areas of innovation in terms of automation advancements in home collection, home testing, Point of Care testing, all ultimately driving better patient experiences. There are also huge technology shifts happening around genome sequencing, digital pathology and automated testing systems.

    Dr Bajwa said: “In terms of the role that AI can play, AI requires access to data, access to domain expertise and access to massive computing power. Today’s story is one of automation of processes, aggregation of data, moving to intelligent analysis and AI, and then repeating that cycle. If we get this right, it really has the potential to reduce costs and support clinicians by unmasking occult disease types, generalising new associations and perhaps even generating new novel hypotheses and new mechanisms with which we diagnosis disease in ways that we could have only imagined in the past.”

    Process automation, digital integration, expanded access, data management and sharing, logistics, and personalised analytics are only a few things that are enhancing the lab experience. “We are already today creating the “self-driving lab” of the future - autonomous labs are not far away,” Dr Bajwa added. “However, AI today is really only being used in specific use cases, but fundamental infrastructure advances are required to achieve AI-driven and autonomous experiments in the future.”

     Coinciding with Arab Health, Medlab Middle East will continue on Wednesday 23 – Thursday 24 June at the Dubai World Trade Centre, attracting a range of key laboratory and trade professionals from across the region for the live and in-person event and featuring keynote speeches and scientific lectures, industry briefings, product demonstrations and networking opportunities, as well as a series of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings, with an emphasis on creating lasting relationships.

    Rejoy Penacerrada, Conference Director for Informa Markets, said: “Over the next few days, Medlab will see the return of the much–anticipated Clinical Microbiology Conference focusing on the latest developments in microbiology and immunology and the role of the medical laboratory in both the management of infectious diseases and epidemiology of infections. Scientists, researchers, and consultants from across the Middle East region will also be able to exchange their knowledge and views on the current developments at the upcoming Clinical Chemistry, Blood Transfusion and Molecular Diagnostics Conferences at Medlab Middle East.”

    A virtual showcase of Medlab Middle East will continue until 22 July.

    For more information, please visit

    Notes to editors:

    About Medlab Middle East

    As the MENA region's most prominent medical laboratory exhibition and congress, Medlab Middle East plays a crucial role in developing the value of laboratory medicine in reshaping the future of diagnostics by providing a platform for laboratory industry leaders, including manufacturers, dealers and distributors, to share best practice, showcase innovations, collaborate and network.

    Medlab Middle East stems from 15 years of growth alongside the MENA region's largest healthcare event, Arab Health. Moving into its 5th year as a stand-alone show, this annual medical laboratory meeting brings together exhibitors and attendees from over 140+ countries

    Medlab Middle East will take place from 21 – 24 June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE. A digital event will occur from 23 May – 22 July 2021.



    Twitter:              @MedlabSeries #myMedlab

    Instagram:        @medlab.series

    LinkedIn:            Medlab Middle East


    About Arab Health

    Arab Health is the largest healthcare event in the Middle East and is organised by Informa Markets. Established 46 years ago, Arab Health provides a platform for the world’s leading manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors to meet the medical and scientific community in the Middle East and subcontinent.

    Arab Health Congress is reputed for delivering the highest quality Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conferences to medical professionals in the region.

    Arab Health 2021 will take place from 21-24 June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and in a digital event format from 23 May-22 July 2021.



    Twitter:             @Arab_Health #ArabHealth

    Linkedin:           Arab Health Forum

    Instagram:        @arabhealthonline

    Media contact

    General Manager

    Tel: +971 4 365 2711 | Mobile: +971 50 153 6544
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Office 106, Arjaan Office Tower, Dubai Media City
    PO Box 502701 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates


    A member of the ECCO Communications Network