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David Shaywitz    

Chief Medical Officer at DNAnexus

Dr. Shaywitz is a graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), and received his MD from the Health Sciences and Technology program at Harvard Medical School and MIT, and his PhD from the Department of Biology at MIT. He trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at MGH, and conducted his post-doctoral research in the Melton lab at Harvard. He gained experience in early clinical drug development in the Department of Experimental Medicine at Merck, then joined the Boston Consulting Group’s Healthcare and Corporate Development practices, where he focused on strategy and organizational design. Most recently, he was Senior Director of Strategic and Commercial Planning and Corporate and Business Development at Theravance, a publicly-held drug development company in South San Francisco, where he concentrated on new product development and led a product team. Currently, he is Chief Medical Officer of Mountain View-based DNAnexus, where he focuses on delivering upon the collaborative, patient-inspired vision of genome-enabled (really, data-enabled) medicine.

Dr. Shaywitz is a co-founder (with Dennis Ausiello) of the Harvard PASTEUR program, a translational research initiative at Harvard Medical School. He is also a founding advisor of Sage, a non-profit medical research initiative (founded by Eric Schadt and Stephen Friend) emphasizing networks and open innovation (www.sagebase.org). More recently, he co-founded the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH), a MGH/MIT-based digital health initiative led by Dennis Ausiello, and focused on using improved real-world phenotypic assessment to improve care and advance science.

For the last fifteen years, Dr. Shaywitz has contributed commentaries about medicine, science, strategy, innovation and digital health to a number of popular publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico Pro, and The Financial Times. He currently is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and TheAtlantic.com.

Speech Topics


Patient-focused drug development (including the role digital health might play), see here.

Power laws, and the implications for decision-making, nicely discussed by Peter Thiel here and Paul Graham here.

Subconscious biases, and the arbitrage opportunities they create, especially regarding talent – see here.

Entrepreneurs and the idea of “conscious capitalism” (vision=why, profit=how) – see here and here.

Agency problem in context of diversification strategies – see here. Entrepreneurs and other auteurs (e.g. Ira Glass) – see here.

Translating integrated health data into biomedical progress that impacts patients – see here and here


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