Showcasing careers beyond academia
Michalis Papadakis

Michalis Papadakis

PhD in Molecular Neuroscience, UCL School of Pharmacy
Co-founder & CEO
Brainomix Limited

What’s your background?

I am a healthcare entrepreneur who started as a basic scientist driven by a fascination with the complexity of the brain. I have a BSc Honours in Biochemistry from Imperial College, London, and PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from the UCL School of Pharmacy. In 2005, I joined and set up the preclinical Stroke Lab at the University of Oxford as a post-doctoral Research Fellow where I subsequently became the Scientific Director. It was during my time there, whilst researching biomarkers for stroke, that I founded Brainomix and led the development and commercialization of the e-ASPECTS stroke imaging software. Brainomix now operates across 15 countries worldwide.

Why did you move away from academia?

I always had an entrepreneurial flair to develop innovative technologies that can impact and transform patient treatment and outcome. Through my research in academia I had discovered a new target for stroke, however I realized to translate this to a therapy I had to invest many years of further research with very low success rate. With Brainomix, I had the opportunity to fulfill my aspiration to develop, in a much shorter time frame, a groundbreaking artificial intelligence-based software, which supports the selection of the right stroke patient for the right treatment.

How did you prepare for the work involved in your job?

There wasn’t much preparation but rather a lot of learning on the job and listening to the advice of mentors and colleagues who had the track record and expertise that I lacked at the time.

Can you describe a typical week in your job?

I rarely have a typical week. This is one of the exciting aspects of the job. Every week varies and involves a lot of international travel to meet physicians, attend conferences and discuss projects with partners. I spend the rest of my time with our team in Oxford, planning our strategy and ensuring everyone has the support and resources they need to grow our company.  

What’s the workplace culture like?

It is a busy, extremely ambitious, fast-paced environment. Our staff adapt quickly to the ever-changing needs of the business. Everyone has a voice and a valued opinion, so it is a fantastic opportunity for someone who is really ambitious to make a difference. I always try to ensure that everyone in the team shares our vision and feels they are part of our mission to improve stroke care.

Which transferable skills are most important to your job?

Solving problems is a core skill for my job and my academic background has taught me how to troubleshoot and find solutions. Importantly, softer skills such as being resilient and understanding people’s needs are essential for building a successful business.

What’s the best part of your job?

Being the driving force of change in a field that affects people’s lives, whilst building a business and a team to enable this change.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

To build a profitable and sustainable business that provides both healthcare benefits to patients and significant returns to our shareholders.

Do you have any advice for current graduate students and postdocs considering a career outside of academia?

If you want to make this leap, don’t think short-term. Be prepared for a rough ride that is full of excitement and will take you to new places that you, and even the world, has never seen.

Brainomix Limited ( started as an University of Oxford medical imaging spin-out, developing state of the art software to improve the treatment of patients with neurological and cerebrovascular disorders. We are building world-class medical imaging software products, which can be sold in multiple international markets, and to accomplish this, we believe in creating a first-class working environment for the whole team.

We offer a wide range of career paths from Software Developers to Marketing Associates. To see our current vacancies, please check our careers page: