Stephen Friend

Stephen Friend
CRI Research Scientific advisory board member
Health Team, Apple Chairman of the board, Co-Founder and Past-President of Sage Bionetworks

Dr. Stephen H. Friend, M.D., Ph.D., is an authority in the field of cancer biology and a leader in efforts to make large-scale, data-intensive biology broadly accessible to the entire research community. He’s treated children with cancer, helped discover a new class of cancer genes while an academic at Harvard University, and co-founded a biotech company later bought by Merck, after which he was brought on board to head Merck’s cancer research. Recognizing that genetic datasets were too fragmented and siloed, over the past decade he has been trying to change the competitive culture of science and bright forth a more collaborative era of research. Dr. Friend is pioneer in the field of the genetics of gene expression and has a broad experience using large datasets and integrating system biology approaches to complex diseases.

Dr. Friend is the president of Sage Bionetworks and director of the new Sage Bionetworks Center for Cancer Systems Biology where he actively leads an interdisciplinary team of network, systems and computational biologists. Sage Bionetworks’ mission is to develop predictive disease models based on globally coherent datasets built from clinical data and multiple layers of genomic data using Bayesian and co-expression approaches.Through Sage Bionetworks, he has worked to reimagine the role of citizens in the research process and to build the tools to empower citizens to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. Under his leadership, Sage Bionetworks has developed an open-source technology platform, called Synapse, for data-intensive analysis, sharing and reuse, enabling researchers to perform cutting edge computational biology and research by iteratively generating and testing novel hypotheses transparently and collaboratively. Sage Bionetworks has engaged the community to crowd-source solutions to complex biomedical questions through targeted DREAM challenges, and has expanded efforts in patient centered research through its mobile health initiatives.Dr. Friend is currently in a full time role at Apple Inc. where he works on ways to impact people’s lives in health and disease.