This Startup Helps Doctors Detect Autism Earlier

By Lee Williamson

Jason Zhu’s company SensOmics builds tools that can detect autism earlier than ever, which has huge consequences for sufferers and their families

Tatler Asia

Jason Zhu is one of 20 recipients of the Gen.T X Credit Suisse Social Impact Awards. The awards recognise Gen.T honourees who have made significant contributions to Asian society in the fields of social impact, sustainability or innovation.

Along with a number of other neurodevelopmental diseases, autism is complicated to detect. “It usually takes three to five years for an autistic patient to be properly diagnosed, meaning a lot of time is wasted that could have been spent on early intervention,” says entrepreneur Jason Zhu.

That’s where Zhu’s Shanghai-based med-tech startup SensOmics comes in, integrating genomics with clinical informatics, electrical engineering and artificial intelligence to identify autism-associated mutations.

The former Silicon Valley software engineer is helping to build proprietary machine learning algorithms that enable research into the pathogenesis of autism and other neurodevelopmental diseases, leading to insight into complex disease genomes useful for clinical diagnosis.

See also: Meet All 20 Awardees Of The Gen.T X Credit Suisse Social Impact Awards

Above  Jason Zhu’s company SensOmics builds tools that can detect autism earlier than ever. (Videography: Cheng Zi. Editing: Denise Ng)

“We use gene detection and biosensor algorithms to drastically shorten this diagnosis period and greatly improve their condition,” says Zhu, “helping them to live a normal life.” 

An early diagnosis is a critical first step, but it is the first of many. “Autism is complicated and has no effective treatment. It also has huge, long-term consequences for sufferers, their family and society.” 

Once diagnosed, SensOmics uses its technology to customise treatment programmes. “Each person’s genome is unique, so they need custom diagnosis methods, intervention and treatment,” says Zhu. “Every patient receives personalised treatment based on his or her own data.” 

To see all winners of the Gen.T X Credit Suisse Social Impact Awards, visit the Social Impact Awards hub

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