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Biomedical Informatics Entrepreneurs Salon: Howard Jacob, AbbVie

May 18th, 2023 ~ 05:00pm - 06:00pm

Zoom; please register for details

A monthly conversation about medicine, biology, computers, and entrepreneurship, hosted by Harvard OTD and the HMS Dept. of Biomedical Informatics. Open to all.

Featured speaker: Howard Jacob is a leader and pioneer in the field of genomic sequencing, a technology that allows us to read the code of life and understand its mysteries. He has been involved in many groundbreaking projects, such as the Human Genome Project, the 1000 Genomes Project, and the International Cancer Genome Consortium. He has also applied his expertise to improve the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer. In this talk, he will share his personal and professional journey of how he became fascinated by genomics and how he leveraged data sharing and collaboration to create knowledge and impact.

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Featured Speaker

Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of Genomics and Data Integration

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Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D. is the Vice President and Head of Genomics and Data Integration at AbbVie. He joined AbbVie in January 2018 to lead one of the largest Genomics Research Center efforts in the field with access to over one million genomes and clinical data. In addition, he leads AbbVie’s R&D-wide Data Integration Program (called Convergence) which brings together all types of data to create knowledge to solve and ultimately improve treatment for patients. The Convergence team recently launched the AbbVie Research Collaborative, a health data platform that enables patients to share their health data with AbbVie researchers to help advance the development of new medicines.

Prior to his role at AbbVie, he led the whole genome sequencing core for the NIH-funded Undiagnosed Disease Network, the clinical teams at the world's first stand-alone genomic medicine clinic, and a whole genome clinical sequencing lab. He founded four companies and has served on the advisory boards for numerous academic and commercial organizations.

As a pioneer and leader in genomics, in 2009, Howard and his team at the Medical College of Wisconsin were the first in the world to use genomic sequencing to save the life of a patient, Nicholas Volker. Nic’s story was highlighted in a Pulitzer Prize winning series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Howard has published over 290 peer-reviewed articles. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa and then completed a post-doc with Eric Lander and Victor Dzau at MIT, Harvard, and Stanford.


Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD

Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School

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Isaac “Zak” Kohane, MD, PhD, is the inaugural chair of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, whose mission is to develop the methods, tools, and infrastructure required for a new generation of scientists and care providers to move biomedicine rapidly forward by taking advantage of the insight and precision offered by big data. Kohane develops and applies computational techniques to address disease at multiple scales, from whole health care systems to the functional genomics of neurodevelopment.

He also has worked on AI applications in medicine since the 1990’s, including automated ventilator control, pediatric growth monitoring, detection of domestic abuse, diagnosing autism from multimodal data and most recently assisting clinicians using whole genome sequence and clinical histories to diagnose rare or unknown disease patients.

His most urgent question is how to enable doctors to be most effective and enjoy their profession when they enter into a substantial symbiosis with machine intelligence. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American College of Medical Informatics.

Press Contact: Kirsten Mabry | (617) 495-4157

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