May 24, 2023

Spotlight on our Successful Project with atai Life Sciences

At Ishango.ai, our mission is to forge impactful collaborations between talented African data scientists and visionary companies, empowering them to unlock the potential of data-driven solutions. In this feature, we are excited to share the outcomes of our recent project with atai Life Sciences.

atai Life Sciences is a leading biopharmaceutical company dedicated to incubating and accelerating the development of highly effective mental health treatments that address the unmet needs of patients. Leveraging advanced analytics and machine learning, Atai employs a data-driven approach to identify new drug targets and drive improved patient outcomes.

The goal of atai Life Sciences’ project with Ishango was to explore innovative ways to harness real world data for the advancement of depression patients’ therapies and support technological solutions. This was done through extensive analysis of public data sets and employing cutting-edge machine learning and signal processing techniques to shed light on the relationship between sleep phenotypes and depression symptoms.

Assigned to the project was Ishango fellow, Victoire Djimna from Cameroon, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics and Automation and a Master’s in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. With support from Ishango senior data scientists and the atai Life team, Victoire developed a supervised machine-learning model to predict the severity of depression using actigraphy data related to movement and sleep. The developed model utilised a gradient-boosting classification algorithm, achieving an accuracy rate of 80% within 2 months.

Reflecting on her experience, Victoire had this to say:

“This experience was incredibly fulfilling. I have gained valuable knowledge in mental disorders, their symptoms, and detection methods”

Dionisio Acosta-Mena, Director and Data Scientist at atai Life, further noted:

“We set out a demanding development program with weekly tangible outputs and a steep learning curve. The Ishango fellow, Victoire, approached the project with a blend of enthusiasm and responsibility, grounded in excellent knowledge of the techniques required to tackle the work. Thanks to the collaboration with Ishango, we gained insights beyond our expectations in a short period of time”

This collaboration proved to be a resounding success thanks to the commitment, enthusiasm, and expertise displayed by both teams. We are proud to have been a part of this project, which showcases our continued commitment to advance the skills of African data science talent while creating real value and impact for data-driven organisations globally.