Healthcare and life sciences

Research and innovation addressing today's greatest health challenges.


Explore our research

Enabling better health outcomes with science and technology

The IBM Research healthcare and life sciences team is dedicated to exploring and developing new methodologies and improving processes for a variety of health care and life science challenges, from how we diagnose diseases to managing population health, better understanding the human genome, and so much more. The team blends a broad set of disciplines such as biology, chemistry, data analytics, engineering, cognitive computing, AI and medicine to pursue their work.

Research areas

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Computational genomics

Progressing the intersection of algorithmics and genomics, using mathematical and statistical modeling.

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Applying nanotechnology to biology and medicine, with a focus on precision diagnostics, the exploration of micro and nanoscale materials, and micro and nanofluidics.

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Healthcare informatics

Researching the application of data science across the entire spectrum of healthcare, including the health of individuals, populations and the healthcare system itself.

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Multi-scale modeling

Developing theoretical and computational frameworks to bridge the differences in spatial and temporal scale of human biology using mechanistic models, statistical models and machine learning.

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Drug discovery

Enabling and expediting the identification, discovery and design of safe and effective drugs using data science, new tools and approaches.

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Cognitive IoT and devices

Creating systems and interfaces that engage users and embed cognitive insights into everyday interactions.

Featured Research

Watson’s detective work could help stop the ‘silent thief of sight’

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. IBM Research is using the cognitive computing power of Watson to help make the early detection process significantly faster and more accessible for all patients.

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New way to stimulate the body to fight disease

IBM researchers uncovered a new way to trigger the body's immune cells to spring into action. Without causing physical damage, polymer-coated graphene sheets incite cells into shooting off signal flares that bring the teeth of the immune system to bear at specific locations.

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Predicting how molecules smell

IBM researchers published results in Science demonstrating, for the first time, that it is possible to predict odor from molecular structures. Such a model will provide fundamental insights into how chemicals are transformed into a “smell percept” in the brain; how the brain perceives odors.

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Using AI and science to predict heart failure

Heart failure is very hard to detect early, but with the help of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, a team of scientists at IBM Research partnered with scientists from Sutter Health and clinical experts from Geisinger Health System to study and predict heart failure based on hidden clues in Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Over the last three years, using the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) like natural language processing, machine learning and big data analytics, the team trained models to identify heart failure one to two years earlier than a typical diagnosis today. This research uncovered important insights about the practical tradeoffs and types of data needed to train models, and developed new application methods that could allow future models to be more easily adopted.

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Silicon biochips to stretch single DNA for disease detection

A team of IBM researchers recently published in Nature Communications details on the design of a silicon-chip based technology that pre-stretches the DNA molecules from their natural coiled state to a more elongated one, making it easier for biochemists to detect the presence of genomic alterations.

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IBM announces new results for detecting diabetic retinopathy

IBM released the results of new research using deep learning and visual analytics technology to advance early detection of diabetic retinopathy (DR). The study found that the method created by the research team achieved an accuracy score of 86 percent in classifying the serverity of the disease across five levels.

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Tour the Nanobiotech lab

See what our IBM Research scientists are up to at the Nanobiotech lab in Yorktown Heights, NY.


Identifying skin cancer with computer vision

IBM researchers are developing techniques in computer vision that could enable clinical staff to use pictures to help them screen for disease.


The internet of the body

Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are creating a health companion called the cognitive hypervisor.


Cognitive health

IBM Research and Watson Health teams work together every day to solve health challenges for our clients and partners.

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