‘Data is King’: Massachusetts Life Sciences Center convenes gathering on future of imaging and data science

Stakeholders gather at the Broad Institute for dialogue on the role of data science in life science innovation

The role of data science in life science innovation is rapidly growing and evolving. The information explosion, combined with emerging algorithms, has the potential to reduce the drug discovery timeline, improve patient experience, and provide clinicians with better diagnostic tools. During this time of digital transformation, the potential exists to derive value from a wide variety of data sources, including next generation sequencing, mass spectrometry, electronic health records, images, and consumer wearables.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) convened various stakeholders to discuss how data is rapidly changing patient care. The gathering featured voices from industry and academic research partners leading in this space. Panelists included:

Anne Carpenter, Senior Director of the Imaging Platform, Institute Scientist at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Aditya Khosla, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at PathAI

Bruce Rosen, Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Laurence Lamson Robbins Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School

Trent Thakur, Senior Program Manager at GE Healthcare

The panel, moderated by Zachary Piccolomini, Shareholder, Electrical and Computer Technologies at Wolf Greenfield, covered a diverse set of topics, covering the burgeoning role of artificial intelligence, workforce training, the requirements and standards for generating useful data, and clinician adoption of related technologies. The panel in part highlighted the role data is playing in driving convergence across sectors, in addition to the value of collaboration taking place across industry, healthcare, and academia.

The gathering featured welcome remarks by Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Assistant Secretary of Technology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Damon Cox. Assistant Secretary Cox relayed the Baker-Polito Administration’s continued commitment to data science to drive the commercialization of products and ideas, train a leading data science workforce, and support regional Massachusetts economic development activity. MLSC Vice President of Industry Strategy and Investments Jennifer Griffin also offered remarks, highlighting the Center’s role in the ecosystem and related program in the area of data science.

The MLSC recently launched the second round of its Bits to Bytes Capital Call to provide funding for projects that will generate and analyze large datasets to answer pressing life science questions, and train data scientists in the Commonwealth. The inaugural round of Bits to Bytes provided $6.7 million in capital funding to nine data-driven, cross-sector projects focused on imaging, cancer, neuroscience, drug discovery and clinical trial design. The MLSC also recently launched its Advanced Analytics/Data Science Internship Program, focused on enhancing the availability of advanced analytics/data science talent in life sciences.