ACD Precision Medicine Initiative Working Group Public Workshop

Speaker Biographies

Russ Biagio Altman, M.D., Ph.D.

Russ Biagio Altman, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of bioengineering, genetics, and medicine (and of computer science, by courtesy) and past chair of the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computing and informatics technologies to problems relevant to medicine. He is particularly interested in methods for understanding drug action at molecular, cellular, organism, and population levels. His laboratory studies how human genetic variation affects drug response. Other work focuses on the analysis of biological molecules to understand the action, interaction, and adverse events of drugs. Dr. Altman holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.D. from Stanford Medical School, and a Ph.D. in medical information sciences from Stanford. He has received the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He is a past president, founding board member, and fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a past president of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT). Dr. Altman has chaired the Science Board advising the FDA Commissioner, and he currently serves on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director. He is an organizer of the annual Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing and a founder of Personalis, Inc. Dr. Altman is board certified in internal medicine and clinical informatics. He received the Stanford Medical School graduate teaching award in 2000 and its mentorship award in 2014.

Euan Angus Ashley, D.Phil., M.D., MRCP

Born and raised in Scotland, Euan Angus Ashley graduated with first class honours in physiology and medicine from the University of Glasgow. He completed medical residency and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and cellular biology at the University of Oxford before moving to Stanford University, where he trained in cardiology and advanced heart failure, joining the faculty in 2006. His group is focused on the application of genomics to medicine. In 2010, he led the team that carried out the first clinical interpretation of a human genome. The paper, published in The Lancet, was the focus of more than 300 news stories, became one of the most cited articles in clinical medicine that year and featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibition. In 2011, the team extended the approach to a family of four, and they now routinely apply genome sequencing to the diagnosis of patients at Stanford Hospital, where Dr. Ashley directs the Clinical Genome Service and the Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease.

In 2013, Dr. Ashley was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for his contributions to personalized medicine. He is a recipient of the National Innovation Award from the American Heart Association and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award for work focused on precision medicine for genetic heart disease. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as part of of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health. In 2014, under his leadership, the Stanford Center for Undiagnosed Diseases became part of the renowned NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network, for which he now serves as co-chair.

At Stanford, Dr. Ashley chairs the Biomedical Data Science Initiative, where he directs programs in personalized medicine, population, and mobile health, as well as serving as scientific director for the Big Data in Biomedicine conference. An exercise physiologist by undergraduate training, he has a lifelong passion for technology. He is co-principal investigator of MyHeart Counts, a clinical study developed with Apple as one of the launch applications for their ResearchKit platform. MyHeart Counts, one of the first studies entirely administered via mobile phone, recruited 30,000 individuals in two weeks in March of 2015.

Along with colleagues Russ Altman, Michael Snyder, Atul Butte and businessman John West, Dr. Ashley is co-founder of Personalis, Inc., a genetic diagnostics company focused on the development of clinical grade genome scale diagnostics.

Father to three young Americans, in his spare time Dr. Ashley tries to understand American sports, plays the saxophone, and conducts research on the health benefits of single malt Scotch whisky.

Vik Bajaj, Ph.D.

Vikram (Vik) Bajaj is the lead scientist of Google Life Sciences, where he manages the Baseline Study, the Nanotechnology Program, and other projects. He is also an associate professor (consulting) at the Stanford School of Medicine and an affiliate scientist of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, for which he serves on the advisory board of the College of Chemistry.

Dr. Bajaj’s research interests lie at the interface of the physical sciences, engineering, and the life sciences. For example, he and his collaborators have developed nanotechnology probes for the early detection and molecular imaging of disease; spectroscopic tools for imaging objects on the nanoscale; microfabricated and miniaturized analytical and imaging systems for point-of-care testing; methods and devices that dramatically enhance the sensitivity and specificity of MRI; and new tools for clinical bioinformatics. Aspects of this work have been commercialized through Agenea Sciences and SkinScan, where Dr. Bajaj was a founder or co-founder.

Dr. Bajaj holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a principal investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before coming to Google[x]. His scientific and engineering awards include the Anatole Abragam Prize (2012), awarded every three years; the R&D 100 award for the most promising commercialized technologies (in both 2011 and 2013); and the Department of Energy’s LBL Innovation Grant (2013). In 2011, he was named a visiting professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (young international scientist competition).

Dr. Bajaj lives in Mountain View, California; his hobbies include general aviation and sailing.

Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D.

Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the new Institute of Computational Health Sciences (ICHS) at the University of California, San Francisco, and a professor of pediatrics. Dr. Butte trained in computer science at Brown University, worked as a software engineer at Apple and Microsoft, received his M.D. at Brown University, trained in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital, then received his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School and MIT. Dr. Butte has authored nearly 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in Wired, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Butte is the principal investigator of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, overseeing the state fund for pilot projects in this field. Dr. Butte is also the principal investigator of ImmPort, the archival and dissemination repository for clinical and molecular datasets funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 2013, Dr. Butte was recognized by the White House as an Open Science Champion of Change for promoting science through publicly available data. His other recent awards include the 2014 E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, 2013 induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the August 2011 National Human Genome Research Institute Genomic Advance of the Month. Dr. Butte is also a founder of three investor-backed data-driven companies: Personalis, providing clinical interpretation of whole genome sequences; Carmenta Bio, discovering diagnostics for pregnancy complications; and NuMedii, finding new uses for drugs through open molecular data.

Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D.

Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D., directs the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the Jennifer and Brian Maxwell Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology and chair of the Division of Community Health and Human Development at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Dr. Eskenazi is a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist whose longstanding research interest has been the effects of toxicants on human reproduction (both male and female) and child development. She is currently the principal investigator of an NIH/EPA Center for Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health Research and its keystone CHAMACOS Study, which investigates the exposure pathways and health effects of pesticide and other exposures in farmworkers and their children residing in the Salinas Valley in California and which develops interventions to prevent future exposure; the Seveso Women’s Health Study, which looks at the health of women (and their children) who were exposed to high levels of dioxin as a result of an explosion in 1976; and the VHEMBE Study of the health effects of pyrethroids and DDT on children living in areas of South Africa sprayed for malaria control. Dr. Eskenazi has recently been awarded the John R Goldsmith award for lifetime achievement in environmental epidemiology. She currently sits on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Council.

Michael Gaziano, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Gaziano received his MD from Yale Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is the Chief of the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

In addition, Dr. Gaziano serves as the director of the Geriatric Research and Education Center (GRECC) at the Boston Veterans Administration Healthcare System. He is also co-director of MAVERIC, which is one of three national centers of epidemiology funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Gaziano is principal investigator for the ongoing Physicians' Health Study (PHS) II study, a large-scale trial of vitamins in the prevention of chronic disease. His research interests include the roles that individual lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking), metabolic factors (obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension), and biochemical and genetic markers play on the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. Also of interest is the impact that vascular disease has on other organ systems, including cognitive dysfunction and renal disease.

Recently, Dr. Gaziano has initiated a number of research projects to investigate the diverse nature of atherosclerosis. While atherosclerosis plaques form only in certain large and medium-sized vessels, the process of atherogenesis affects arteries of all sizes. For example, cognitive decline and osteoporosis-related fractures have been linked to various cardiovascular disease risk factors, suggesting a role for small vessel disease in vascular dementia and in abnormal bone remodeling. These projects are intended to explore the extent to which atherosclerotic disease in small vessels leads to these and other chronic conditions, such as renal failure.

Howard Hu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D.

Howard Hu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D., came to the University of Toronto as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s second permanent director and professor of environmental health, epidemiology, and global health in July 2012. On July 1, 2013, after leading the school through the process of becoming the first new faculty at the University of Toronto in 15 years, he became the school’s founding dean. Dr. Hu is a physician-scientist, trained as an internist, occupational and environmental medicine specialist, and epidemiologist. Previously, he had been a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (1988 to 2006) and then the NSF International Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and professor of environmental health, epidemiology and internal medicine at the University of Michigan (2006 to 2012).

Dr. Hu is the founder of an environmental epidemiology research group that, since 1990, has grown into a multi-institutional and international team of scientists devoted to gaining new insights into the impact of exposure to potentially toxicants that are of critical importance to public health and medicine. Dr. Hu has published more than 250 original papers in the scientific literature, co-authored and edited several books, and served as the founding medical editor of Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). His work has won a number of awards, including the 1999 NIEHS Progress and Achievement Award, the 2006 Harriett Hardy Award, the 2009 Linus Pauling Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the American Public Health Association. He has served on the Institute of Medicine’s Board of Population Health and Public Health Practice and currently serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council for the National Institutes for Health.

Dr. Hu received his Sc.B. from Brown University, his M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and his M.P.H. and Sc.D. degrees (epidemiology) from the Harvard School of Public Health. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and in occupational/environmental medicine at Harvard.

Stephen Intille, Ph.D.

Stephen Intille, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the College of Computer and Information Science and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the development of novel health care technologies that incorporate ideas from ubiquitous computing, user-interface design, pattern recognition, behavioral science, and preventive medicine. Areas of special interest include technologies for measuring and motivating health-related behaviors, technologies that support healthy aging and well-being in the home, and mobile technologies that permit longitudinal measurement of health behaviors for research (especially the type, duration, intensity, and location of physical activity).

Dr. Intille received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1999, working on computational vision at the MIT Media Laboratory; an S.M. from MIT in 1994; and a B.S.E. degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He has published research on computational stereo depth recovery, real-time and multi-agent tracking, activity recognition, perceptually based interactive environments, and technology for health care. Dr. Intille has been principal investigator on sensor-enabled health technology grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, foundations, and industry. In 2010, after 10 years as technology director of the House_n Research Consortium at MIT, he joined Northeastern University to help establish a new transdisciplinary Ph.D. program in personal health informatics.

Isaac Kohane, M.D., Ph.D.

Isaac Kohane, M.D., Ph.D., is the inaugural chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. He develops and applies computational techniques to address disease at multiple scales, from whole health care systems as “living laboratories” to the functional genomics of neurodevelopment with a focus on autism. Dr. Kohane’s i2b2 project is currently deployed internationally to more than 120 major academic health centers to drive discovery research in disease and pharmacovigilance (including providing evidence on drugs which ultimately contributed to “black box”ing by the Food and Drug Administration). Dr. Kohane has published several hundred papers in the medical literature and authored a widely used book, Microarrays for an Integrative Genomics. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Jennifer Malin, M.D., Ph.D.

Jennifer Malin, M.D., Ph.D., is the medical director for oncology solutions and innovation at Anthem, Inc., providing clinical leadership for all aspects of the delivery of care for Anthem members with cancer.

After graduating from Harvard University, Dr. Malin received her medical degree and doctorate in public health from UCLA. She is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. An associate professor of medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, she is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and is widely recognized for her research on the quality of cancer care. She has served on a number of advisory boards and national committees, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality of Care Committee and the National Quality Forum’s Cancer Steering Committee.

Dr. Malin continues her clinical practice by volunteering at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and two children.

Marie Lynn Miranda, Ph.D.

Marie Lynn Miranda, Ph.D., is professor and dean in the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment and professor in the departments of pediatrics and of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Miranda also directs the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI), a research, education, and outreach program committed to fostering environments in which all people can prosper. CEHI emphasizes the environmental health sciences and social justice components of risks borne by children in the United States and internationally. The initiative runs geospatial training programs across the United States designed specifically for state and local health departments. CEHI is also leading a significant effort in developing geospatial informatics to support health care delivery and improvements in population health through its component center, the National Center for Geospatial Medicine (NCGM), which is working in five different locations across the United States to apply geospatial methods to improve outcomes for disadvantaged populations. Dr. Miranda has an active research portfolio, with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She serves on the NIH National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, the External Advisory Board for the Mindich Child Health and Development Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the External Advisory Committee for the Ohio State University School of Public Health. She previously served on the EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and the National Children’s Study Working Group of the NIH’s Advisory Committee to the Director. Dr. Miranda has a deep and abiding personal and professional interest in social and environmental justice. In July, Dr. Miranda will become provost at Rice University.

Vamsi K. Mootha, M.D.

Vamsi Mootha, M.D., is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and directs a laboratory based at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also professor of systems biology and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Broad Institute.

Dr. Mootha’s research is focused on mitochondria, often termed the “powerhouses of the cell.” His group has utilized tandem mass spectrometry, computation, and microscopy to characterize the mitochondrial proteome, which now serves as a molecular blueprint for clinical and systematic studies of mitochondria. Dr. Mootha and colleagues have used this inventory to discover the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, a major channel of communication between mitochondria and the rest of the cell. He collaborates extensively with clinicians and researchers throughout the world, helping elucidate more than a dozen disease genes that underlie severe, metabolic diseases. His team has developed a number of computational tools that are used widely by the community.

Dr. Mootha received his undergraduate degree in mathematical and computational science at Stanford University and his M.D. in 1998 from Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He subsequently completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2001, after which he completed postdoctoral fellowship training at the Whitehead Institute.

Dr. Mootha has received a number awards, including a MacArthur prize and election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Andrey Rzhetsky, Ph.D.

Andrey Rzhetsky, Ph.D., is a professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago. He is also a Pritzker Scholar, as well as a senior fellow of both the Computation Institute and the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago. His research is focused on computational analysis of complex human phenotypes in context of changes and perturbations of underlying molecular networks. The input data for these studies is supplied by large-scale mining of free text, computation over clinical records, and high-throughput systems biology experiments.

Josh Stein, M.B.A.

Josh Stein, M.B.A., is the chief executive officer and co-founder of AdhereTech, a company that makes patented smart pill bottles to track and improve medication adherence in real time. AdhereTech is currently being used by top pharmaceutical companies and researchers to increase adherence for specialty medications and to track adherence in clinical trials. AdhereTech has won numerous innovation awards, and Mr. Stein has been a featured speaker at TEDMED for each the past two years, SXSW, Stanford Medicine X, Health 2.0, the Wharton Health Care Business Conference, and many more. He holds an M.B.A. from Wharton and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Saul Shiffman, Ph.D.

Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., is a research professor of clinical and health psychology, psychiatry, and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Shiffman helped develop and systematize the methodological framework of Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), the use of diaries and mobile assessment for real-world, real-time data collection. Dr. Shiffman’s own research has applied EMA methods to the study of addiction, obesity, stress and coping, and cardiovascular health. He co-founded invivodata, inc., and a leading provider of mobile data collection for clinical trials. Besides conducting research on tobacco use and dependence since 1973, Dr. Shiffman has contributed to behavioral research programs to switch medications with potential public health impact from prescription to nonprescription status in order to expand their reach.

He has published more than 375 scientific papers and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. He has been awarded the Alere Research to Practice Award “for exemplary work in translating or extending behavioral medicine from research into practical application” by the Society for Behavioral Medicine, the Lifetime Achievement Award for clinical research from Good Clinical Practice Journal, and the Ove Ferno award for “breakthroughs in clinical research” by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. He has served on advisory panels to several institutes at the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the Center for the Advancement of Health, among others. He currently serves on the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association.

Sharon F. Terry, M.A.

Sharon F. Terry, M.A., is president and chief executive officer of Genetic Alliance, a large network engaging individuals, families, and communities to transform health. Genetic Alliance works to transform the process by which ordinary people to take charge of their health.

As a mother with a master’s degree in theology, she cofounded PXE International, a research advocacy organization for the genetic condition pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), when her two children were diagnosed with PXE in 1994. With her husband, she co-discovered the ABCC6 gene, patented it in 2000 to ensure ethical stewardship, and assigned their rights to the foundation. She subsequently developed a diagnostic test and conducts clinical trials. She is the author of 140 peer-reviewed papers, 30 of which are clinical PXE studies.

In the forefront of consumer participation in genetics research, services, and policy, Ms. Terry serves in a leadership role on many major international and national organizations, including the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Science and Policy Board, the IOM Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health, the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee, the PhenX scientific advisory board, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, and the International Rare Disease Research Consortium Executive Committee; she serves as founding president of the EspeRare Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland. She is co-founder of the Genetic Alliance Registry and BioBank and is on the editorial boards of several journals. Ms. Terry led the coalition that was instrumental in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. She received an honorary doctorate from Iona College for her work in community engagement in 2006; the Research!America Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award in 2009; and the Clinical Research Forum and Foundation’s Annual Award for Leadership in Public Advocacy in 2011. She was named one of the Food and Drug Administration’s “30 Heroes for the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Orphan Drug Act” in 2013. She is co-inventor of the Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly (PEER), which received substantial funding awards from PCORI and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2014.

Ms. Terry is an Ashoka Fellow. With her husband Patrick, she is an avid paragliding pilot, rock climber and weekend farmer.

Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki, chief executive and co-founder of 23andMe, helped establish the company in 2006 after a decade spent in health care investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies. Her hope was to empower consumers with access to their own genetic information and to create a way to generate more personalized information so that commercial and academic researchers could better understand and develop new drugs and diagnostics. 23andMe has built one of the world’s largest databases of individual genetic information. Its novel, web-based research approach allows for the rapid recruitment of participants to many genome-wide association studies at once, reducing the time and money needed to make new discoveries, and the company has created a proven and standardized resource for finding new genetic association and confirming genetic loci discovered by others. Under Ms. Wojcicki’s leadership, 23andMe has made significant advances in bringing personalized medicine directly to the public. Ms. Wojcicki graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in biology; getting access to and understanding her own genetic information had always been one of her ambitions.

This page last reviewed on September 4, 2015