Required: Deep partnerships between industry and academia to upgrade healthcare and biomedical research via Big Data

Join the dis­rup­tors of health sci­ence (Nature):

Thomas R. Insel’s biggest les­son from his shift from NIMH direc­tor to Sil­i­con Val­ley entre­pre­neur: aca­d­e­m­ic and tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny researchers should part­ner up.

In ear­ly 2015, I tes­ti­fied with sev­er­al oth­er Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH) direc­tors at an annu­al hear­ing held by the US Sen­ate. It was my 13th and final year as direc­tor of the US Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health (NIMH) in Bethes­da, Mary­land. What struck me most was how the harsh fis­cal real­i­ty tem­pered the pas­sion­ate bipar­ti­san sup­port for the NIH. As one sen­a­tor not­ed, with a fed­er­al deficit of near­ly US$500 bil­lion, there was lit­tle hope of any sig­nif­i­cant increase in funding.

Six months after that hear­ing, I left the NIH for Sil­i­con Val­ley, first work­ing at Ver­i­ly in South San Fran­cis­co, Cal­i­for­nia, a health-sci­ence spin-off formed by Google’s par­ent com­pa­ny Alpha­bet. Since May, I’ve been pres­i­dent and co-founder of a start-up called Mind­strong Health in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia. I’ve wit­nessed the tremen­dous pos­si­bil­i­ties that immense resources, mas­sive com­put­ing pow­er and the appli­ca­tion of data sci­ence can bring to bio­med­ical research. I’ve watched some of today’s best junior fac­ul­ty mem­bers and post­docs launch their careers in Sil­i­con Val­ley instead of in aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments. And I’ve won­dered how tech­nol­o­gy giants and start-ups will change bio­med­ical and health-care research.

These com­pa­nies have trans­formed the worlds of infor­ma­tion, enter­tain­ment and com­merce. But by mov­ing into health care, they face some for­mi­da­ble chal­lenges. In my view, solv­ing them will require deep part­ner­ships between tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies, clin­i­cal experts, patient advo­cates and aca­d­e­m­ic sci­en­tists.” Keep read­ing Dr. Insel’s arti­cle over at Nature.


We are proud to share that Dr. Thomas Insel, a psy­chi­a­trist, neu­ro­sci­en­tist, and cur­rent­ly a co-founder and Pres­i­dent of Mind­strong Health, will speak at at the 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (Decem­ber 5–7th). From 2002–2015, Dr. Insel served as Direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health (NIMH), the com­po­nent of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH) com­mit­ted to research on men­tal dis­or­ders. Most recent­ly (2015 – 2017), he led the Men­tal Health Team at Ver­i­ly (for­mer­ly Google Life Sci­ences) in South San Fran­cis­co, CA. Dr. Insel is a mem­ber of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine and has received numer­ous nation­al and inter­na­tion­al awards includ­ing hon­orary degrees in the U.S. and Europe.


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About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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