Lida Kourita knows there are some things that are as true now as they were thousands of years ago. For example, one philosophical idea that really sticks with her is the Socratic concept that all one can know for sure is that one knows nothing. For Lida, knowing “nothing” is a key component to her medical practice. “For many diseases, we don’t know why they happen, and, also, we don’t have any treatment for them,” she says. “This philosophy allows me to know I have a limit to my knowledge, which inspires me to keep learning and discovering.” Similar is one of her favorite quotes, “Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing, for the known way is an impasse,” by Heraclitus. It’s this dedication to constant learning and discovery of the unknown that’s earned her a place on the Top 5 Forbes Accelerators in 2019, among many other notable awards.
Finding the unknown and unforeseen is critical to Lida’s position as strategy and clinical development lead at DiscernDx, a precision multi-omics company located in Palo Alto, California, that aspires to transform the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. Using a predictive, AI-driven platform, they’re set to uncover multiple diseases via a systems medicine approach using multi-omics. By being able to detect chronic diseases more easily, they hope to also catch them earlier, meaning patients can start care regimens earlier, even in childhood, sparing them from potentially devastating symptoms later in life. In addition, she’s also the medical innovation lead at neuroFit, a NASA spinout start-up, which uses eye-tracking technology to monitor and measure brain health. Her work with neuroFit has earned her a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant as the entrepreneurial lead of a team researching unmet medical needs in the field of neurocognitive decline and helped raise funding from Jumpstart Foundry. neuroFit has been awarded a $300,000 NIH SBIR/STTR Phase I grant, and now collaborating with research institutions like UCSF, UCSD, and the VA at Stanford. As if this were all not enough, Lida is also the international partner for Greece with the World Business Angel Forum, an affiliate of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, and serves on the Global Women Leaders Committee.
Lida earned her medical expertise working in London’s medical system, in nine hospitals in various diverse roles, including pediatrics, which inspired her early disease detection work of today. Her diverse training gave her the ability to be comfortable in a variety of medical areas, and her artistic family background also adds to the multidisciplinary quality of her education and vision. “My brother, Yorgos Kouritas, is an orchestra conductor and my inspiration. In the arts, you must have a very clear vision of what you want to accomplish and then have people give their best performance because they share that vision,” she says. “This is really important for any type of leadership—every person has a different charisma, so it is important to capture that.” The exposure to all these facets allows her to have an outside-the-box, innovative approach to problems, and that also includes her time at business school. “Sometimes, as people, we lack tools we need, so bringing science, medicine, and business to the same table brings solutions that a singular person could never imagine,” she says. “To have a diverse table and explore together what is possible and push the limits is important.”
Strategy & Clinical Development Lead — DiscernDx
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