Stephen H. Friend, MD/PhD


President, Co-Founder and Director of Sage Bionetworks

Dr. Friend is the 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 believes that successful biomedical research requires the active participation from all stakeholders. He is reimagining the role of citizens in the research process and is building tools to empower them to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. He also believes in the importance of iteratively generating and testing novel hypotheses transparently and collaboratively. Under his leadership, Sage Bionetworks has developed an open-source technology platform, called Synapse, for data-intensive analysis, sharing and reuse, enabling researchers to perform cutting edge computational biology and research. Dr. Friend is engaging the community to crowd-source solutions to complex biomedical questions through targeted DREAM challenges.

Previously 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 Dr. Leroy 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.

Diane Gary

DianeGarycroppedDirector, Business Operations

Diane Gary has responsibility for the organization’s finance, human resources, grant management and general business activities.  Ms. Gary has held similar roles in other early-stage companies, including Rosetta Inpharmatics through the initial funding, IPO and acquisition by Merck & Co. Inc., and KidStar Interactive Media.  Most recently, she was HR Director for Merck’s Seattle and San Francisco research sites.  Prior experience also includes work with a hospital foundation, with a nonprofit healthcare association, and on the board of the Country Doctor Community Health Centers.  Ms. Gary holds an MBA degree from the University of Washington.

Justin Guinney

Guinney Director, Computational Oncology

Justin Guinney is the Director of the Computational Oncology group at Sage Bionetworks. His group contains specialists from multiple domains, including molecular biology, computer science, and oncology, and focuses on the development of computational models for optimizing patient diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment in cancer. Justin is an expert at large-scale analysis of genomic data, and works regularly with clinicians to link these models to complex cancer phenotypes. Prior to joining Sage Bionetworks, Justin co-founded and managed a software company called FiveSight Technologies, now part of Intalio Corp. Dr Guinney received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in History, a BS from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD from Duke University in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

Mike Kellen

mikekellenDirector, Technology and Software Development

Michael Kellen leads the technology platforms and services team at Sage Bionetworks. Since 2009, the team has supported open projects and challenges in the collaborative analysis of human health data through the development of the Synapse platform, and by providing support with data hosting, curation, and analysis. The team is now expanding scope into the collection of rich human phenotypic data though the development of the Bridge platform. Michael has over 10 years experience developing software for academic and corporate users in the life sciences, and has brought several award-winning products to market in this space covering simulation, data capture and analysis workflow, data integration, and team collaboration. Prior to Sage, Michael held a variety of positions with Teranode corporation since joining as the company’s first employee in 2002, covering product development, field consulting, product management, and development management. Michael completed a doctorate in bioengineering at the University of Washington in 2002 with a focus in computational biology where he also helped develop scientific modeling and simulation technology subsequently licensed by Teranode.

Arno Klein

ArnoDirector of Neuroimaging and Director of SIMPL(E)

Arno is the Director of two new groups at Sage: Neuroimaging, which analyzes biomedical image data, and SIMPL(E), which seeks and interprets meaningful patterns and latent explanations in data. Arno is particularly excited about imaging and visualization of complex information as well as by open science initiatives, and is coordinating open science challenges. He is the lead developer of open source software packages such as Mindboggle (for automated brain labeling and shape analysis), and is actively involved in a range of projects, including visual taxonomies and Indian cave temple documentation. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from Cornell Medical School, an M.S. from MIT’s Media Laboratory, and a B.S. in Biopsychology at the University of Michigan, and was an assistant professor at Columbia and Stony Brook Universities for six years prior to joining Sage.

Lara Mangravite, PhD

mangraviteDirector, Systems Biology

Lara Mangravite, PhD is Director of the Systems Biology research group. This team focuses on application of systems biology approaches to advance understanding of disease biology and treatment outcomes with the overriding goal of improving clinical care. As part of these efforts, the team is working in parallel to pilot new approaches to scientific process that use open systems to enable community-based collaborative research efforts to solve complex problems in a collective manner that is more efficient and effective than standard research approaches. Lara’s previous research experience has focused on the identification of prognostic biomarkers through the analysis of genomic and molecular profiles derived from both clinical trials and experimental model systems. Dr. Mangravite obtained a BS in Physics from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, San Francisco. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular pharmacogenomics at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

Thea Norman, PhD

Thea Norman_photoDirector, Strategic Development

Dr. Norman is the Director of Strategic Development at Sage Bionetworks. She works closely in partnership with Dr. Gustavo Stolovitzky of IBM to oversee the running of the Sage-DREAM Challenges. DREAM Challenges foster a collaborative framework for researchers to rapidly evolve predictive disease models for tough problems in biology and medicine that would otherwise take years to produce. Dr. Norman also oversees the design and development of Sage Bionetworks BRIDGE platform. Prior to joining Sage Bionetworks, Dr. Norman spent 12 years as a science, alliance and business leader at two start-up biotechnology companies (Ironwood and Ambrx). Dr. Norman is a co-inventor on seven issued patents including that for the composition of Linzess (which Dr. Norman developed), a First in Class treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Dr. Norman holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

John Wilbanks

jtw headshot by joiChief Commons Officer

John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks and a Senior Fellow at Faster Cures. He has worked at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the World Wide Web Consortium, the US House of Representatives, and Creative Commons. John is a past affiliate of MIT’s Project on Mathematics and Computation and also started a bioinformatics company called Incellico, which is now part of Selventa. He advises the National Coordination Office’s NITRD program, sits on the Board of Directors for Impact Story and the TransMART Foundation, and sits on advisory boards for Boundless Learning, Curious, GenoSpace, and Patients Like Me. John holds a degree in Philosophy from Tulane and studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.