Dr. Friend is the Chairman of the Board and Past-President of Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization that provides the tools and environment to conduct dynamic, large-scale collaborative biomedical research. He is an authority in the field of cancer biology and a pioneer in the field of the genetics of gene expression, integrating system biology approaches to complex diseases. Dr. Friend co-founded Sage Bionetworks in 2009 on the belief that successful biomedical research requires the active participation of all stakeholders. Through Sage Bionetworks, he has worked to reimagine the role of citizens in the research process and to build the tools to empower citizens to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. Under his leadership, Sage Bionetworks initiated it’s efforts to address pressing questions in biomedical research by strengthening interactions between scientists, participants, and advocates. His tireless advocacy for open science has helped to foster the collaborative research ecosystem that exists today.
Dr. Friend is currently designing a virtual institute to explore fundamental issues around how to make individual symptom predictions and how to return agency to individuals so they might navigate their own paths between health and disease. Dr. Friend was most recently at Apple Inc. where he worked on ways to impact people’s lives in health and disease. Prior to co-founding and leading Sage as President, Dr. Friend was Senior Vice President and Franchise Head for Oncology Research at Merck & Co., Inc. where he led Merck’s Basic Cancer Research efforts. Formerly Dr. Friend along with Dr. Hartwell founded and co-led the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s “Seattle Project” , an advanced institute for drug discovery and later they co-founded Rosetta Inpharmatics with Drs Hartwell and Hood. Dr. Friend also held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School from 1987 to 1995 and at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1990 to 1995. He received his M.D/Ph.D. from Indiana University. Dr. Friend was named an Ashoka Fellow for his work at Sage Bionetworks.
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