Computational biologist Adam Margolin
Computational biologist Adam Margolin

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has recruited computational biologist Adam Margolin, Ph.D., to lead its new $200 million precision medicine program, which it says will “radically” speed up drug development by integrating large-scale data analysis and advanced genomic technologies.

Dr. Margolin—who was previously at Oregon Health & Science University—will lead Mount Sinai’s Icahn Institute, which has been renamed the Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology. He has also been appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Senior Associate Dean of Precision Medicine.

Dr. Margolin will succeed Eric Schadt, Ph.D., who was recruited in 2011 to lead Mount Sinai’s programs in data science and genomics.

Under Dr. Schadt, Mount Sinai said, its genetics department grew to among the top-five nationally in NIH funding for research. Mount Sinai also built the largest supercomputing facility of any U.S. academic medical center; was named by Fast Company among the top 10 most innovative organizations in the world in Data Science; developed a state-of-the-art genomic technology development program; and spun out the molecular testing company Sema4, of which Dr. Schadt is founder and CEO.

Dr. Margolin has specialized in developing machine-learning algorithms to analyze large-scale datasets, predict therapies specific to an individual patient, and infer the key cellular processes that underlie cancer drug susceptibility and other clinically relevant phenotypes.  He has developed software systems to enable collaborative analysis for several of the largest national and international projects in cancer, genomics, cancer immunotherapy, stem cell research, and pediatric diseases.

In his new positions, Dr. Margolin will oversee Mount Sinai’s efforts to build a precision medicine program by recruiting 30 new faculty members specializing in data science and genomic technology, in addition to 25 data scientists to lead projects aimed at interpreting large-scale biomolecular data.

“With Adam Margolin at the helm, Mount Sinai is committed to recruiting world-class data scientists—the same type of people who would otherwise be working in hedge funds or big tech start-ups—who can apply those skills to analyzing enormous amounts of data on patients,” stated Dennis S. Charney, M.D., Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System.

Mount Sinai said its precision medicine plans also include:

  • Launching cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary projects to discover new precision therapies in core disease areas;
  • Building computational infrastructure to enable integration and analysis of data throughout the Mount Sinai health system and beyond;
  • Building technology platforms to implement and develop advanced molecular profiling and therapeutic testing technologies;
  • Launching educational programs to train top PhD and Masters’ students in biomedical data science.

“We are creating a program built for the way science will be done in the future,” Dr. Margolin said. “We will bring together the top data scientists, genomic technology innovators, and disease experts who will work side by side every day to understand the molecular causes of complex diseases, rapidly test new therapies derived from these insights, and bring these therapies to patients faster than ever before,” Dr. Margolin said in a statement.

Before joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Margolin served as OHSU’s Director of Computational Biology and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in which he led the university’s computational research and informatics software development programs. Earlier, Dr. Margolin was Director of Computational Biology at Sage Bionetworks in Seattle. He also worked at the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leading an effort to leverage large-scale cancer genomics datasets to infer genotype-specific therapeutics in human tumors.

Dr. Margolin earned his MS in Computer Science from the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and his PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Columbia University.

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