Adam Margolin, Ph.D., recruited as director of new program in computational biology at OHSU

01/29/14  Portland, Ore.



Adam Margolin, Ph.D., has been appointed director of computational biology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

As director, Dr. Margolin will lead the institution’s investment in the capacity for computational biology across the basic and clinical sciences.

That includes building a new, cross-departmental, multidisciplinary program in computational biology. The program will support the development of innovative computational approaches to a broad range of programs in basic and clinical science, guide the development of leading-edge computational and data storage infrastructure at OHSU and oversee expansion of applied computational and biostatistical support.

“We are pleased to welcome Adam to OHSU,” said Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research in the School of Medicine. “The need to expand our capacity in computational biology was identified by our faculty and developed further in the School of Medicine Research Roadmap as essential to meeting many of our research goals in precision medicine across a range of disciplines, as well as to providing a substrate for continued faculty success and innovation. Computational science is advancing at a rapid pace, and Adam brings a great deal of expertise and vision to help guide us as we build out this capacity in ways that have a real impact on patient’s lives.”

This is a joint recruitment of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the School of Medicine. Dr. Margolin will hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and be a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Dr. Margolin will join the faculty part-time in February and will serve full-time by July.

Dr. Margolin says he's looking forward to joining OHSU and building its strength in computational biology. "I've been following OHSU's development for a number of years and it's rapidly becoming one of the world's top biomedical research institutions," said Dr. Margolin. "I'm impressed with its strengths: world-class faculty, leading-edge translational research, advanced imaging and strategic industry partnerships with companies like Intel and FEI. OHSU's commitment to take its big data science to the next level provides the right environment to build a world-renowned computational program and lead innovations in harnessing genomic data to improve clinical outcomes."

Currently, Dr. Margolin is the director of computational biology and co-leader of strategy at Sage Bionetworks, a biomedical research institute in Seattle, with a joint appointment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. At Sage Bionetworks, he oversees the development of novel computational methods for predicting disease-related phenotypes from genomic data, the development of large-scale data processing and sharing tools and leads several consortium-based projects to leverage cloud-enabled computing technologies for collaborative analysis across distributed networks of investigators.

At OHSU, in collaboration with research and department leaders in the School of Medicine and the Knight Cancer Institute, Dr. Margolin will be responsible for recruiting four to five new faculty members who will hold faculty appointments in school departments. He will also help coordinate efforts of faculty already working in this area. In addition, he will serve as the OHSU lead on the Intel alliance in cloud genomics and exascale computing and will also build expertise for computational problems in visualization science.

Dr. Margolin has achieved international recognition for his work in computational approaches for inferring cellular regulatory networks and for developing predictive models linking alterations in cellular networks to clinical cancer phenotypes. His work has been featured in the mainstream press, such as The Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report and published in leading scientific journals, including recent cover articles in Nature and Science Translational Medicine, in addition to recent publications in journals such as Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS and Cancer Cell.

Dr. Margolin received his B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, his M.S. in computer information technology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and his Ph.D. in biomedical informatics from Columbia University in 2007. His thesis was entitled, “Computational Inference of Genetic Regulatory Networks in Human Cancer Cells” and was subsequently developed into a book with the same title.

Prior to joining Sage Bionetworks, Dr. Margolin initiated and led an effort at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to leverage large-scale cancer genomics datasets to infer genotype-specific therapeutics in human tumors. This work led to numerous high-impact demonstrations of the ability to infer clinically relevant tumor biomarkers.

Read more about computational biology at OHSU.