Isabel Straw | National Health Service (NHS)


My background is in Medicine, Public health, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), I work part time as an Emergency Doctor in the NHS while also completing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at University College London (UCL).

My PhD research focuses on evaluating discriminatory biases in medical algorithms and I have published papers that demonstrate demographic inequities in healthcare AI that have gained wider attention in the media and press. In addition, I carry out further research projects on the topics of (i) The impact of technology-facilitated abuse on victims of violence, and (ii) The cybersecurity of implanted medical devices. I have experience in domestic and international settings in both clinical medicine and policy work. I have practiced as an emergency doctor in humanitarian environments in Europe and The Middle East, and I have worked at the United Nations in 2019 and 2021 on the recent ‘Recommendation for the Ethics of AI’ (the first global instrument on AI Ethics).

In 2022 I was invited as a speaker to DEFCON Homecoming – the largest global cybersecurity and hacking conference. At this event I spoke on the topic of medical brain implants and their vulnerability to cyber threats and exploits. The field of medical device cybersecurity is a new area that receives little attention, with a series of researchers at UCL I am leading a new line of inquiry into this area. I will also be speaking on this topic at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s annual conference in October 2022. Aside from my work in cybersecurity, my most recent publications demonstrate sexist biases in medical algorithms that predict liver cancer amongst patients – the work was picked up by iNews and publicised in July 2022. My current PhD research focuses on developing unsupervised machine learning methods to improve the equitability of medical AI, to ensure it does not widen healthcare inequalities. In the future I plan to continue developing my career at the intersection of medicine, Artificial Intelligence and ethics, focusing on the role of technology in mitigating healthcare inequalities.