Life Epigenetics, the insurtech subsidiary of GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH), announced that Dr. Randal S. Olson has joined the firm as its Lead Data Scientist. Dr. Olson will bring machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced data science to the company’s epigenetic technology that promises to be transformational to life insurance underwriting.
Dr. Olson joins Life Epigenetics from the University of Pennsylvania where he was the Senior Data Scientist at the Computational Genetics Laboratory. Working with Professor Jason H. Moore, the renowned translational bioinformatics scientist, biomedical informatician, and human geneticist, Dr. Olson invented and developed the award-winning Automated Machine Learning (AML) tool TPOT (https://github.com/EpistasisLab/tpot) which is one of the most widely used open-source AML tools in the world.
In his role at Life Epigenetics, Dr. Olson will lead the company’s application of predictive epigenetic biomarkers to life insurance underwriting through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company’s epigenetic analysis currently captures methylation levels at over 866,561 sites along the human genome. Methylation levels at these sites vary based on age, lifestyle, exposure to toxins, and various other environmental factors. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, Life Epigenetics will be able to apply advanced automated machine learning to life insurance underwriting.
“Randy will play an important role in applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to the vast amounts information we are now able to see about our human biology through epigenetic analysis,” said Life Epigenetics’ CEO Jon Sabes. “Attracting a professional like Dr. Olson to Life Epigenetics is an exciting milestone for the company.”
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Olson join our scientific team,” said Life Epigenetics’ Chief Scientist Dr. Brian Chen. “His expertise in data science will enhance our ability to fully maximize our cutting-edge technologies in the biological sciences.”
Life Epigenetics holds the exclusive license for lifespan-predictive technology developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for the life insurance industry. Since February 2017 the company has been collecting and analyzing data from life insurance policyholders and has been discussing its work with major life insurance and reinsurance companies that have expressed interest in learning more about how epigenetic technology can add value to their businesses. In October, it announced pilot programs with two life insurance companies to test its epigenetic-based M-Panel technology.
Dr. Olson received a Ph.D. in computer science and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior from Michigan State University.