Plenary Keynotes

Tuesday, April 16 4:00 - 5:00 PM

4:00 Welcome Remarks

Cindy Crowninshield, RDN, LDN, Executive Event Director, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

4:15 Plenary Keynote Presentation

Open Science: From Ideology to Methodology

John Wilbanks

Chief Commons Officer, Sage Bionetworks

From early efforts archiving the scholarly literature and the Bermuda Rules of the Human Genome Project through to the NIH Genomic Data Commons and robust mandates from government funders, we are now decades into the advance of “open” policies for biological and health sciences. With the rise of data science and sensors putting new urgency behind data sharing policies, driving text mining in articles and EHRs, new technologies now mirror and accelerate open policy development. Open science however is not a policy, nor is it a technology, nor is it about a single file or dataset being on the internet. Open science, like science, is fundamentally a methodological practice of knowledge generation – and we should be critically examining how, when, and where open approaches accelerate the creation and distribution of knowledge. Otherwise we risk conflating the rise of open and shared scientific assets with the end goal of increasing knowledge generation. This talk will examine specific cases of open and/or collaborative science including ongoing work at Sage Bionetworks in the AllofUs Research Program.

5:00 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing and Meet the Experts: Plenary Keynote Speaker

Wednesday, April 17 8:00 - 9:45 AM

8:00 Welcome Remarks

Allison Proffitt, Editorial Director, Bio-IT World

Microsoft 8:05 Keynote Introduction:

Jason Stowe, Principal Group Program Manager, Engineering, Microsoft

8:15 Plenary Keynote Panel Discussion

AI in Practice: How New Technologies Are Changing Bio-IT

How is artificial intelligence impacting biology, drug discovery, and life sciences today? Beyond the hype, what are we accomplishing? And what’s just around the corner? Bio-IT World editor, Allison Proffitt, sits down with the researchers building this landscape to hash out what’s real, what’s artificial, and what’s next for AI in Bio-IT.


Allison Proffitt

Editorial Director, Bio-IT World


Anne E. Carpenter, PhD

Senior Director of the Imaging Platform, Institute Scientist, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Iya Khalil, PhD

Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder, GNS Healthcare

Mariana Nacht, PhD

CSO, Vivid Biosciences; President, Board of Directors, WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology)

Susie Stephens, PhD

Senior Director, Oncology & Vaccine R&D Information Technology, Pfizer

9:45 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing and Meet the Experts: Plenary Keynote Panelists

Thursday, April 18 8:00 - 9:45 AM

8:00 Organizer Remarks

Cindy Crowninshield, RDN, LDN, Executive Event Director, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

8:10 Benjamin Franklin Award and Laureate Presentation

J.W. Bizzaro, Managing Director,

8:35 Bio-IT World Innovative Practices Awards

Allison Proffitt, Editorial Director, Bio-IT World

9:00 Plenary Keynote Presentation

Converting Data to Insights Using an End-to-End Data Ecosystem

Vijay K. Bulusu

Head, Data & Digital Innovation, PharmSci Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer

Every industry is going through the Date & Digital wave. In the Life Sciences industry, terms like Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Deep Learning etc. are becoming more and more common. The general perception is that if these technologies are helping companies like Netflix, Walmart, Facebook, BestBuy, Apple, Google innovate and find new opportunities for growth, the same must be true for Pharma companies as well. Significant data initiatives are being launched to apply these technologies to data from R&D, Clinical, Manufacturing and Commercial systems across the industry. However, most of these initiatives are facing a fundamental challenge – Data. They are finding out that their return on investment (ROI) and value propositions are not achievable because they failed to proactively answer questions on the data available such as Where is the data?, How is it stored?, What is it called?, What format is it in? and How is it accessible? Most of these initiatives are more focused on the application of these technologies and less on the fundamental problem of making high quality data available. To solve this challenge, a careful and deliberate approach is needed that tackles the problem to create an end-to-end data ecosystem. This talk will focus on the common problems that large enterprises face when implementing data driven projects and explore the concept of how to define and implement a holistic approach to solving them. Case studies highlighting best practices and techniques that can be used to create an end-to-end data ecosystem will be shared.

9:45 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Meet the Experts: Plenary Keynote Speaker, and Poster Competition Winners Announced @ 10:00

Meet the Plenary Keynote Speakers:

John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer, Sage Bionetworks

John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first assistant director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was executive director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

Anne E. Carpenter, PhD, Senior Director of the Imaging Platform, Institute Scientist, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

With a strong background in cell biology, microscopy, and computational biology, Anne Carpenter’s expertise is in developing and applying methods for extracting quantitative information from biological images, especially in a high-throughput manner. Carpenter directs a team of biologists and computer scientists in developing image analysis and data exploration methods and software that are open source and freely available to the public. She and her team developed CellProfiler, the first open-source, high-throughput cell image analysis software. Anne is now a pioneer in image-based profiling, the extraction of rich, unbiased information from images for drug discovery, and functional genomics. She collaborates with dozens of biomedical research groups around the world to develop and apply image analysis methods to diverse biological questions. Her team works across many of Broad’s programs and platforms to help identify disease states, therapeutic potential, and gene function from microscopy images. Anne is an NIH MIRA investigator, an NSF CAREER awardee, and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups including the Human Frontiers in Science program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Anne earned her B.S. from Purdue University and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Iya Khalil, PhD, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder, GNS Healthcare

Iya Khalil is a technology entrepreneur and physicist with a vision of transforming medicine into a discipline that is quantitative, predictive, and patient-centric via artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches. She co-founded two big data companies, Via Science and GNS Healthcare, and is the co-inventor of the proprietary computational engine that underpins both entities. Iya’s expertise spans applications in drug discovery, drug development all the way to treatment algorithms that can be applied at the point of care. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and was recognized by President Obama at a White House dinner as a leading entrepreneur in genomic medicine. She was named to the PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most inspiring people in the life sciences industry and was recognized for her ability to build bridges across the life science and healthcare industries, bringing people together to harness the power of predictive modeling to change the lives of patients. Iya serves on the board of the Accelerated Cure Project and the Scientific Advisory Board of Biocentury Innovations. Recently, she was appointed to the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) Oversight Council by Governor Baker and recognized by INC Magazine as one of the top 100 female founders.

Mariana Nacht, PhD, CSO, Vivid Biosciences; President, Board of Directors, WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology)

Mariana Nacht has over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry, having helped build several successful biotech companies from the start. Previously, she was vice president of cancer biology at KDAc Therapeutics, part of the founding executive management team at Padlock Therapeutics, and a member of the management team at Avila Therapeutics that advanced three novel irreversible inhibitors to oncogenic kinases into clinical development in five years. She spent the first 10 years of her career at Genzyme. Mariana is President of the Board of Directors of WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology). She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University and her doctorate in molecular and cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania. 
Susie Stephens, PhD, Senior Director, Oncology & Vaccine R&D Information Technology, Pfizer

Susie Stephens is responsible for R&D IT for the West Coast for Pfizer. As such she provides support for Oncology, Vaccines, Rinat, San Diego and San Francisco Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, and Partner Lines. She is responsible for strategy and delivery of IT services, products, and processes to achieve successful outcomes for R&D. Susie has cross-disciplinary experience in informatics, science and business from leading pharmaceutical and IT companies. Prior to joining Pfizer, she was Head of In Silico Immunology, Janssen Pharmaceutical Research and Development, where she had overall responsibility for in silico science for the Immunology Therapeutic Area. She has also worked for Eli Lilly where she was responsible for Open Innovation for Research IT, Oracle where she created and guided the implementation of their product development strategy for the database for the life sciences, and Sun Microsystems where she was market segment manager for the life science. Susie has a PhD in Physiology from the University of Exeter, UK, post-doctoral experience in Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester, UK and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School.

Vijay K. Bulusu, Head, Data & Digital Innovation, PharmSci Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer 

Vijay Bulusu is a thought leader with experience in bringing together multiple disciplines together to drive radical innovation. In his current role as the Head of Data and Digital Innovation in WRD at Pfizer, he leads the creation and execution of global digital science, data sharing and innovation programs. These programs blend recent advances in consumer technologies, data analytics, engineering and creative thinking to develop innovative solutions. He leads a cross functional team that focuses on solving scientific challenges to accelerate drug discovery and development using advanced data and digital technologies. Past and ongoing work includes: Design and implementation of Scientific Data Cloud - a best in class data management and analytics platform for scientific and manufacturing data, Machine Learning for organic synthesis, augmented reality for manufacturing, internal innovation space, predictive science and wearable devices for labs. Prior to joining Pfizer, he has held senior level positions with global software services companies where he managed large program implementations and rollouts. Vijay has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics. He enjoys playing cricket and offers free coaching to kids and adults who want to learn the game. In his spare time, he runs a makerspace, organizes public speaking classes and teaches computer programming.

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