Maria Chatzou Dunford is the Founder & CEO of Lifebit, a groundbreaking platform for unified and secure research over distributed big data, revolutionizing and democratizing access to omics data. Prior to founding Lifebit, Dr. Chatzou had a long and celebrated career as an engineer and academic.
She started her career as a researcher in SciLifeLab, a world-leading Swedish national center for large-scale research. There, she developed and implemented pipelines for interpreting and analyzing data stemming from high-throughput experiments. Also, she implemented a web server called Elude – a bioinformatics software used for retention time prediction for mass-spectrometry data and developed specialized bioinformatics software using machine learning techniques.
Maria earned a Ph.D. in Biomedicine from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 2016 and conducted postdoctoral research at the Centre for Genomic Regulation on designing and deploying tools and methods that will facilitate the analysis of Big Biomedical Data. During her academic career, she published numerous articles in leading scientific journals and presented her work at international conferences. In 2014, Maria, alongside friends and colleagues, created the Innovation Forum, where spent nearly a decade in senior leadership positions working with leading institutions globally. Today, the Forum has over 50,000 members. She remains passionate about educating people globally on subjects spanning across scientific and business dimensions.
A passionate entrepreneur, Maria has founded two companies: Innovation Forum Barcelona and Lifebit. Co-founding Lifebit in 2017, Maria had a clear vision to solve the most significant bottleneck within the precision medicine industry, accessing and analyzing siloed biomedical data effectively without compromising data security.
Lifebit was inspired by end-user innovation, when Maria and her co-founder, Pablo, were struggling with big data analysis, realizing that this was a challenge affecting the research community as a whole, as well as significantly inhibiting innovation and discovery. They proceeded to join TechStars and launch the disruptive company which Lifebit has become today, operating in the field of biotechnology research. With a focus on making genomics analysis reproducible and easy to share, Lifebit is simplifying the process for researchers across all levels of expertise, generating insights fast and accelerating the pace of scientific discovery. Lifebit's one-click solution for genomics analysis empowers researchers with access to the widest range of tools and resources.
Maria has led Lifebit to raise over $70 million in capital funding with investors, including Tiger Global Management, one of the largest global venture funds. Recently listed as a Top 100 future unicorn to watch by Financial Times’ Sifted, Maria has led Lifebit to be one of the industry’s biggest disruptors, securing contracts with high-profile clients across the life sciences sector, including Genomics England and Boehringer Ingelheim.
She currently holds the position of CEO, expanding the company globally.