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10 September, 2021 - 12:26 By Tony Quested

Wellcome Trust scientist boosts ieso mental health therapy push

A Cambridge company that delivers online therapy for mental health patients, has persuaded the Wellcome Trust’s head of neuroscience and mental health to spearhead a new commercial push. Dr Andrew Welchman joins ieso as its first executive vice-president for Impact.

In his role at Wellcome Trust, Dr Welchman led strategic initiatives for a £500 million portfolio in cutting-edge brain science. 

He developed a multi-million-pound initiative in mental health science that has become central to Wellcome’s ambitions for the next two decades. At ieso he will play a pivotal role in translating the company’s scientific breakthroughs and clinical learnings into the transformation of mental healthcare at scale. 

Working alongside chief scientific officer Andy Blackwell, he will also be responsible for forging strategic alliances with a wide range of organisations to collaborate on ground-breaking research and accelerate the adoption of innovation.

His appointment will strengthen ieso’s team as they continue to be at the forefront of scientific and tech-based solutions to providing more effective and targeted mental health support. 

The significant advances being made in data science at ieso are set to transform the delivery of mental health and Andrew will be instrumental in continuing the success the company has had to date. ieso is a former Business Weekly Awards champion.

ieso CEO Nigel Pitchford said: “I’m delighted that Andrew has recognised ieso’s potential to revolutionise mental health understanding, treatments and outcomes. 

“He is a distinguished scientist and globally recognised expert at the interface between biological sciences and machine learning. What’s more, he has a proven ability to drive creative collaborations that lead to meaningful change, and here he will play a pivotal role in linking us with diverse but like-minded organisations that share our ambition.”

Dr Welchman said: “We know that poor mental health is an urgent and global problem – but we now need actions to meet the challenge. I have long admired ieso’s innovative data-driven approach to mental healthcare that shows how rigorous science improves treatment quality and delivers results for people suffering from mental health conditions.

“Tectonic shifts in technology mean we are primed to make quality care available for all. We are determined to drive change to reduce suffering so that millions of people around the globe lead flourishing lives.”

As Professor of Neural Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, Andrew and his team combined advanced human brain imaging and AI to uncover how we perceive and understand the world around us. 

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, has worked closely with several Royal Colleges (for example, the Royal College of Psychiatry and Royal College of Ophthalmology), and has been an adviser for large-scale international research efforts and collaborative partnerships such as The India Alliance, The World Economic Forum and charities including Children in Need.

Andy Blackwell said: “We’re making swift progress in helping people here in the UK get help sooner, receive the right diagnosis first time and get precise treatment so they recover more quickly. 

“Andrew joins us at an exciting time as we’re beginning to work with global partners to pool our expertise and leverage the possibilities of innovation in this space. I’m delighted to be working so closely with him and excited about what the future holds.”

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