Moneyball's analytics wiz DePodesta joins Scripps' Big Data team

Paul DePodesta

The man who made a science, and a team, out of all the data in baseball is now joining Scripps to apply his analytics skills to Big Data in healthcare and drug development.

Instead of identifying the most cost-effective baseball players capable of winning a World Series, the Harvard-educated Paul DePodesta--played by Jonah Hill opposite Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball--will use the massive amount of data being generated in healthcare to make better decisions about drug discovery and treatment methods as assistant professor of bioinformatics at the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

DePodesta will still work with the New York Mets, but last summer a lunch meeting with Scripps' Eric Topol turned into a lengthy discussion about the uses of Big Data in healthcare. That discussion in turn led to a staff position at STSI. And the analytics specialist sees many of the hurdles he faced in baseball staring him in the face when it comes to medicine.

"In disciplines as disparate as baseball, financial services, trucking and retail, people are realizing the power of data to help make better decisions," DePodesta said in a release. "Medicine is just beginning to explore this opportunity, but it faces many of the same barriers that existed in those other sectors--deeply held traditions, monolithic organizational and operational structures, and a psychological resistance to change.

The STSI team has been undertaking a number of projects, including the use of sequencing data to find genetics triggers and new drugs for idiopathic diseases.

"Paul brings a valuable outsider's perspective to medicine that will help make the field more precise and more predictive through the analysis of the vast amounts of individualized data now being collected through genetic testing, wireless sensors and other technologies," said Topol in a statement.

- here's the release