Executive Director, Data Science & Strategic Partnerships, Merck

Aman Bhandari, PhD is currently at Merck Research Labs in the Longwood Medical Area, where he heads up a unit focused on building data science partnerships and capabilities for the company. Prior to Merck, he worked at the White House for President Obama’s first two U.S. Chief Technology Officers as well as a senior research scientist at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. His graduate training is in epidemiology, health services research and pharmacoeconomics.


Founder & Partner, Pillar
Jamie Goldstein is the Founder & Managing Director of Pillar, and early-stage venture fund in Boston. Prior to Pillar, Jamie was an investing partner for 18 years at North Bridge Venture Partners. Prior to Northbridge, Jamie co-founded PureSpeech, a venture-backed speech recognition software and applications company that was acquired by Voice Control Systems [NASDAQ: VCSI] and subsequently sold to Nuance [NASDAQ: NUAN]. Jamie also co-founded WattsUp?, a company that sells consumer electricity meters, and remains in business today. Jamie grew is a graduate of MIT in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He served as both Chairman and President of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) and served as Chairman and is currently Vice Chairman of Match Education. He is also the co-founder and featured speaker of StartMIT, the boot camp for MIT student entrepreneurs.



Partner, Pillar

Russ Wilcox is a partner at Pillar. He has 20 years of start-up operating experience, having founded three companies and raised $150 million in private capital. At E Ink Corporation, he commercialized electronic paper invented at the MIT Media Lab. E Ink conducted materials research, filed patents, scaled a factory, and shipped tens of millions of displays for the Amazon Kindle and other devices. E Ink reached a $200 million run rate with strong profits leading to its sale in 2009. To date consumers have purchased more than $10 billion of E Ink-related devices and content.

Following E Ink, Russ co-founded Transatomic Power, advancing a source of clean energy; and Piper Therapeutics, conducting pre-clinical studies for an immuno-oncology drug.

Russ actively supports the Boston entrepreneurial community.  Since 2012 he has volunteered as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Harvard Business School Rock Center and counseled hundreds of students on achieving their start-up goals. He sits on the Harvard Physical Sciences Accelerator Review Board and was a Board Director for Harvest Automation, a venture-backed developer of agricultural robots. He has been an angel investor in several start-ups, including Disruptor Beam, PowerInbox, Calimmune, Gen9, DriveFactor, and Camino Financial. Russ began his startup career as a product manager at PureSpeech, a speech recognition company co-founded by Jamie Goldstein.

Russ graduated with honors in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College and worked in Boston and Paris as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman. He was a Baker Scholar at the Harvard Business School. He is an Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the Year and a Mass High Tech All-Star. He holds thirty-three issued U.S. patents.


Partner, Pillar
Sarah Hodges is a Partner at Pillar, and early-stage venture fund in Boston. She has spent the last decade as an entrepreneur and operator in high-growth consumer and enterprise companies. Prior to Pillar, Sarah was a member of the executive team at Pluralsight, the world’s largest online learning community for IT, dev and creative training, where she helped the company double in size in less than one year. Before joining the company, Sarah was a member of the executive team at Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight), where she oversaw strategy, operations and marketing. In 2012, Sarah co-founded Intelligent.ly, a leadership development company that has transformed over 1,000 emerging leaders across Boston. Sarah has held additional leadership roles in early-stage startups including RunKeeper (sold to Asics) and Carbonite (CARB). She has also served as a board member at BUILD and an advisor to Flybridge Capital.


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Andy Beck earned his MD from Brown Medical School and completed residency and fellowship training in Anatomic Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology from Stanford University. He completed a PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford University, where he developed one of the first machine-learning based systems for cancer pathology. He is board certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 2011, where he is now an Associate Professor (Part-time). He has published over 85 publications in the fields of cancer biology, cancer pathology, and biomedical informatics.



CTO, PillPack

Elliot is a scientist at heart, an engineer by training and a vocal advocate for transparent, customer-empowered healthcare. He graduated from UC Berkeley and has an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Elliot has played key engineering roles at both healthcare and non-healthcare related startups, was an associate at Founder Collective and started his career as a program manager at Microsoft.




Associate Professor - Harvard Medical School

As director of the Computational Imaging and Bioinformatics Laboratory (CIBL) at Harvard-DFCI, Hugo focuses on the development and application of advanced computational approaches applied to various types of medical data. Specifically, his research is focused on the integration and analysis of medical imaging, pathology, and genomic data for personalized medicine. To achieve this goal, he and his team have broad backgrounds in engineering and data science technologies, as well as training in medicine and biology. Furthermore, he leads scientific alliances of the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) and Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) of the National Institute of Health. Hugo is also the Scientific Advisor to Sphera, a startup that provides next-generation image analytics using artificial intelligence for integrating data from imaging, genomics and across the clinic. 

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Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School

Isaac (Zak) Kohane, MD, PhD is the inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Marion V. Nelson Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. He served as co-author of the Institute of Medicine Report on Precision Medicine that has been the template for national efforts. He develops and applies computational techniques to address disease at multiple scales: from whole healthcare systems as “living laboratories” to the functional genomics of neurodevelopment with a focus on autism. 

Over the last 30 years, Zak’s research agenda has been driven by the vision of what biomedical researchers could do to find new cures, provide new diagnoses and deliver the best care available if data could be converted more rapidly to knowledge and knowledge to practice. In so doing, Kohane has designed and led multiple internationally adopted efforts to “instrument” the healthcare enterprise for discovery and to enable innovative decision-making tools to be applied to the point of care. At the same time, the new insights afforded by ’omic-scale molecular analyses have inspired him and his collaborators to work on re-characterizing and reclassifying diseases such as autism, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers. In many of these studies, the developmental trajectories of thousands of genes have been a powerful tool in unraveling complex diseases. 



EVP & Founder, GNS Healthcare

Dr. Khalil is a technology entrepreneur and physicist with a vision of transforming medicine into a discipline that is quantitative, predictive, and patient-centric via big data analytic 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. She trained in theoretical physics at Cornell University, and has more than 11 years of experience in “big data” analytics for healthcare, medicine, and the life sciences.

She has led several key foundational collaborations with providers, pharmaceutical companies, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Khalil’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, has appeared in several industry journals, published several articles in the field, and was recognized by President Obama at a White House dinner as a leading entrepreneur in genomic medicine. More recently, she was named to the PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most inspiring people in the life-­-sciences industry. She 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.



Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children's Hospital / Professor, Harvard Medical School

John Brownstein, PhD, is the Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children's Hospital. He is a global leader in HCIT and, in particular, the emerging fields of informatics and big data analytics. He runs a 50-person multi-disciplinary team focused on digital innovations that span clinicians and consumers. His group is supported by a multi-million dollar budget including grants from NIH, USAID, DoD, IARPA, CDC, Google, Skoll and Gates Foundation. His work has pioneered ‘digital epidemiology’- utilizing diverse digital data sources to understand population health. His work is published in over 150 peer-reviewed papers, all focused on new methods and applications in digital health. This work was recognized by the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

He also leads the development of several novel patient facing public health systems, including HealthMap, Vaccine Finder and MedWatcher. The systems are considered premier global public health tools in use by millions of patients each year and endorsed by numerous public health agencies including CDC, WHO, DHS, DOD, HHS, and EU, and has been recognized by the National Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. In addition to research achievements, this translational impact comes from playing an advisory role to numerous agencies on real-time public health surveillance including HHS, DHS, CDC, IOM, WHO and the White House.

Dr. Brownstein is a successful entrepreneur having developed new technologies, started multiple companies and outlicensed technologies. John has extensive experience establishing industry/academic partnerships, including work with Google, Twitter and Uber. As a long time (11 years) BCH employee, he is familiar with BCH and the many talented doctors, nurses and scientists here who serve as the core of our innovation engine.



CEO, Cyft

Dr. Leonard D’Avolio, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Brigham and Women’s Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care. He is the CEO and co-founder of Cyft, a company based on years of his research optimizing machine learning and natural language processing to improve healthcare. He is also an advisor to Ariadne Labs and the Helmsley Charitable Trust Foundation, board member for Youth Development Organization, researcher, and writer. 

He previously led informatics for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ precision medicine initiative (the Million Veteran Program) and the first clinical trial embedded within an electronic medical record system. He founded Ariadne Labs’ informatics team and led their partnership strategy as well as the creation of a mobile phone-based system that uses real time data feedback to improve neonatal care in Uttar Pradesh, India. 

Dr. D’Avolio’s research interests include natural language processing and machine learning techniques applied to improve the quality of healthcare. He is a frequent presenter at national industry and academic forums on topics related to using data to improve clinical science and care. His work has been funded by several agencies and organizations including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, the National Cancer Institute, Helmsley Charitable Trust Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 



Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Sherri Rose, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Her work is centered around developing and integrating innovative statistical approaches to advance human health. Broadly, Dr. Rose's methodological research focuses on nonparametric machine learning for causal inference and prediction. Within health care policy, Dr. Rose works on risk adjustment, comparative effectiveness research, and health program impact evaluation. She co-leads the Health Policy Data Science Lab, where she directs projects in computational health economics. Prior to her faculty appointment at Harvard, Dr. Rose was an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and received her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Rose coauthored the first book on machine learning and causal inference, Targeted Learning: Causal Inference for Observational and Experimental Data, published by the Springer Series in Statistics in 2011. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Slate, and The Boston Globe, among others. She serves on several editorial boards, including as Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Statistical Association and Biostatistics, and has been the recipient of numerous national awards. 

A key component of Dr. Rose's work is that the machine learning tools she designs incorporate both investigator knowledge and automation to answer critical questions in health. Her statistical learning machines are grounded in theory, while remaining computationally efficient and producing interpretable policy-relevant results.

Stan Lapidus


CEO, Lapidx Research

Stan Lapidus is an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He graduated from Cooper Union in New York City, with a BSEE degree. In 1987, he founded Cytyc Corporation (NASDAQ:CYTC) which pioneered the modern Pap smear. In 1995, he founded EXACT Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS), which developed and markets Cologuard, a widely used test for the early detection of colorectal cancer. In 2003, he co-founded Helicos Biosciences (NASDAQ:HLCS), which developed the world’s first commercial single-molecule DNA sequencer. In 2009, he founded SynapDx Corp, focused on early detection of autism and related disorders. He also serves as founder/CEO of Lapidx Research which is developing novel methods for cancer detection.

Stan holds 35 US patents, primarily for methods for early detection of cancer and other diseases. He has been an instructor at MIT since 2001. In 2013 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.