On July 12th, 2017, over 250 innovators across medical research will gather at the State Room in Boston for the 8th annual Partnering 4 Cures: Boston conference.  This anticipated conference connects experienced and motivated leaders to bring needed changes to the medical research system.  The mission of the conference is to discover ways to cut down the time and cost of bringing new therapies to patients, regardless of the disease.  The conference has been put together by FasterCures, which is a center within the Milken Institute, since 2009.

Featured Speakers at Partnering 4 Cures: Boston

1Elizabeth Nabel
President, Bringham Health

Elizabeth Nabel is the President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, as well as the NFL’s Chief of Health. Nabel is an exemplary physician, scientist, and leader. She is a practicing cardiologist, biomedical researcher, and patient advocate. Her leadership hallmarks include greater interdisciplinary and cross-industry collaborations, patient-inclusive care, a globally-reaching vision, and innovation in personalized therapies and translational medicine.

2Christopher Viehbacher
Managing Partner, Gurnet Point Capital

Chris Viehbacher is the Managing Partner of Gurnet Point Capital. Gurnet Point is a Boston based investment fund associated with the Bertarelli family and has a $2 billion capital allocation. Viehbacher is a Board member of Axcella Health, BEFORE Brands, Crossover Health and PureTech Health plc. He is also Chairman of Boston Pharmaceuticals, a Gurnet Point portfolio company and Vedanta, a PureTech portfolio company as well as Vice Chairman for Nuvelution Pharmaceuticals.

3John Wilbanks
VP of Science, Creative Commons

As VP of Science at Creative Commons, John Wilbanks runs the Science Commons project. He came to Creative Commons from a Fellowship at the World Wide Web Consortium in Semantic Web for Life Sciences. John holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Tulane University and studied modern letters at the Universite de Paris IV (La Sorbonne). He was a research affiliate at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the project on Mathematics and Computation.

4Robert Califf
Deputy Commissioner, Medical Products & Tobacco, US Food & Drug Administration

Robert Califf is deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he provides executive leadership for four centers and the Office of Special Medical Programs. Before joining FDA, Califf was a professor of medicine, vice chancellor for clinical and translational research, and director of two institutes at Duke University. While at Duke, he led major initiatives to improve clinical research and served as principal investigator for two large projects. A frequently cited bioscience author, he has more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications.

5Gigi Hirsch
Executive Director, MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation

Dr. Hirsch is the Executive Director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation and NEWDIGS, a “think and do tank” that re-engineers pharmaceutical innovation to deliver more value faster to patients, in ways that work for all stakeholders. NEWDIGS’ flagship project on “Adaptive Biomedical Innovation” helped inspire the EMA’s Adaptive Pathways pilot project (2014-2016). Under her leadership, NEWDIGS continues to advance other critical enablers of ABI such as efficacy-to-effectiveness strategies, tools, and systems; precision financing models for curative therapies; and simulation methods/tools for collaborative innovation.

6Kafui Dzirasa
Assistant Professor, Duke University Medical Center

Kafui Dzirasa completed a PhD in Neurobiology at Duke University. His research interests focus using neural technology to understanding how changes in the brain produce mental illness. In 2009, Dzirasa obtained an MD from the Duke University School of Medicine. He was subsequently appointed as an assistant professor in the departments of neurobiology, biomedical engineering, and psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Dzirasa has participated in numerous programs geared towards exposing youth to science and technology and providing health education for under-served communities.

7David Fajgenbaum
Associate Director, Patient Impact, Orphan Disease Center, University of Pennsylvania

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MSc, is the co-founder and Executive Director for the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fajgenbaum launched the CDCN in 2012 to accelerate research and treatments for idiopathic Multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD)—a deadly and poorly-understood hematologic disease—through global collaboration, strategic investments in high-impact research, and patient engagement.

8Heidi Rehm
Associate Professor of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Heidi L. Rehm, PhD, FACMG is the Director of the Partners Healthcare Laboratory for Molecular Medicine (LMM), the Medical Director of the Broad Institute’s Clinical Research Sequencing Platform and Associate Professor of Pathology at Brigham & Women‘s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Both clinical labs focus on the rapid translation of new genetic discoveries into clinical tests and bringing novel technologies and software systems into molecular diagnostics to support the integration of genomics into clinical use. Rehm has also been a leader in genomic medicine research, supporting several programs from discovery (Center for Mendelian Genomics), to translation (MedSeq, BabySeq, eMERGE) to building standards to support genomics (ClinGen, GA4GH, ACMG).

9Louise Perkins
Chief Science Officer, Melanoma Research Alliance

Louise Perkins is chief science officer of the Melanoma Research Alliance. Previously, she served as chief scientific officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and enjoyed a distinguished private-sector career. At the MMRF, Perkins led the development and execution of scientific strategy, including growth of the foundation’s venture philanthropy investments and expansion of its genomics initiative. The latter sequenced the first melanoma tumor genome in 2009 and undertook comprehensive genomics of 250 patient samples.

10Kim McCleary
Director, Strategic Initiatives, FasterCures

Kim McCleary leads a new FasterCures program to advance the science of patient input and expand patient engagement in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) assessment of benefits and risks for medical products. McCleary also works closely with FasterCures’ network of patient-focused venture philanthropy organizations, The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN). Prior to joining FasterCures, McCleary was president & CEO of the CFIDS Association of America from 1991 until 2013.

11David Altshuler
Executive VP, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

David Altshuler is Executive Vice President, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Altshuler leads Vertex’s research efforts aimed at discovering new medicines for the treatment of CF and other serious diseases, overseeing the company’s three research sites in Boston, San Diego and Oxford, UK. David serves as Chair of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board. A member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, David was named a Champion of Change by the White House for his leadership in creating and leading the Global Alliance for Genomic and Health.

12Jason Bobe
Associate Professor and Director, Sharing Lab, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multi scale Biology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Jason Bobe attempts to produce biomedical research efforts that people actually want to join. He works on prototyping collaborative and participatory models of research and citizen science. With a focus on (a) greatly expanding the rates of participation in organized health research, (b) broadening the types of contributions participants in research are able to make, (c) promoting discovery & engagement through participant-centered research design and “equal access” data sharing practices, (d) the creation of well-consented public resources via the “open consent” framework, (e) building research networks and communities of practice around emerging technologies.

13Patricia Brennan
Director, National Library of Medicine

Dr. Brennan came to NLM in August 2016 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a professor at the School of Nursing and College of Engineering. She is a pioneer in the development of innovative information systems and services, such as ComputerLink, an electronic network designed to improve the lives of home care patients and increase their independence. In January 2017, with the transition of the trans-NIH data science initiatives to NLM, as recommended by the NLM Working Group Report to the NIH Director, Brennan also assumed the role of NIH Interim Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS).

14Tania Simoncelli
Executive Director, Count Me In

Tania Simoncelli is Executive Director of the Count Me In initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Previously, Simoncelli served for two years as Assistant Director for Forensic Science and Biomedical Innovation within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and for three years as Special Assistant to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. From 2003-2010, Simoncelli served as Science Advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union. In 2013, Simoncelli was named by the journal Nature as one of “ten people who mattered this year” for spearheading the ACLU’s successful efforts to invalidate patents on the BRCA genes.

15Len D’Avolio
CEO and Co-Founder, Cyft

Leonard D’Avolio, Ph.D. is the co-founder & CEO of Cyft and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. He led informatics for the nation’s largest genomic medicine initiative and embedded the first clinical trial within an electronic medical record system for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He founded Ariadne Labs’ informatics team, led strategic partnerships, and developed a system that has been used to improve 70,000+ childbirths in India. Today, with Cyft, he is using machine learning and natural language processing to improve care management.

Partnering for Cures – Boston Conference Lineup: Other Inspirational Speakers

  • Joe SelbyExecutive Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
  • Dr. Steve PerrinCEO and Chief Scientific Officer, ALS Therapy Development Institute
  • Amy Dockser MarcusStaff Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
  • Matthew HerperSenior Editor, Pharma & Healthcare, Forbes Magazine
  • Robert LangerDavid H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mark AllesCEO, Celgene
  • Meg TirrellReporter, CNBC
  • Robi BlumensteinPresident, CHDI Foundation
  • Marc BoutinCEO, National Health Council
  • Harlan KrumholzHarold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine; Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University; Director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Dr. Francis CollinsDirector, National Institutes of Health
  • Lisa Simms BoothDirector, External Affairs and Operations, FasterCures
  • Carmen BozicSenior Vice President, Head of Global Development, Biogen
  • Carolyn BuserSenior Fellow, Vice President, and Global Head of Discovery Partnerships with Academia, GSK
  • Sohini ChowdhuryDeputy CEO, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
  • Holly Fernandez LynchExecutive Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Harvard Law School; Faculty, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
  • Michael GoettlerGlobal President, Rare Disease, Pfizer
  • Michael KlowdenPresident and CEO, Milken Institute
  • Kristin KrukenbergSenior Scientist, Shire; Founder and Board Member, Future of Research
  • Anna McCollister-SlippFounder, VitalCrowd; Chief Advocate, Participatory Research, Scripps Translational Science Institute
  • Theresa MullinDirector, Office of Strategic Programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Cynthia RiceSenior Vice President, Advocacy & Policy, JDRF
  • Daisy RobintonPostdoctoral Scientist, Harvard University and ‎Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Laura SolChief of Staff to the CEO, American Heart Association
  • David Van VactorProfessor, Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • Rachel WagmanExecutive Director, Global Clinical Development, Amgen
  • Daniel WattendorfDirector, Innovative Technology Solutions, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Carrie WolinetzActing Chief of Staff and Associate Director for Science Policy, National Institutes of Health

For inquiries about booking one of these, or other healthcare speakers, for your next event, please contact us.

Partnering for cures


All American Entertainment (AAE) is a full-service talent booking agency dedicated to representing the interests of meeting and event planners. AAE has helped thousands of the most respected companies, organizations, and universities identify and secure high-profile keynote speakers and celebrity talent for personal appearances, speaking engagements, promotional campaigns, and a wide range of other functions. AAE’s talent base includes professional business and motivational speakers, best-selling authors, top athletes, award-winning comedians, TV personalities, musicians, celebrity chefs, and many others.


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