Name: Eric Schadt
Title: Director, Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology
Organization: Mount Sinai School of Medicine
There are't many scientists with enough big ideas and charisma for a major academic outfit to essentially build a new institute around him or her. Eric Schadt is one of those rare individuals. That's how he got to lead Mount Sinai School of Medicine's new Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology in New York, his brainchild that puts powerful computers and $100 million in funding into understanding how complex networks of genes and other factors impact diseases.
Schadt has ruffled some feathers in Big Pharma for his endorsement of revolutionary ways of looking at diseases and drug research. Far removed from the single-gene knockout studies that have been a largely failed mainstay of pharma R&D efforts, his computational disease network modeling during his tenure at Rosetta Inpharmatics shed light on new targets to explore and an evolved approach to tackling the complexities of disease.
A tireless promoter of open innovation, Schadt, a mathematician and bio-computing geek, wears a dizzying number of hats that include his new role at Mount Sinai, scientific strategist and chief scientist at Pacific Biosciences ($PACB), a next-generation sequencing outfit, scientific adviser at GNS Healthcare, a provider of big data analytics for biopharma and healthcare groups, and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks, where he and longtime collaborator Stephen Friend are trying to free biological research and disease models to make them available to the global research community.
To grasp the vastness of his intellect and his deep desire to seek biomedical breakthroughs, consider that after just one phone call during which he received a request for help in understanding a pesky strain of cholera that wrought havoc in Haiti, Schadt (in his role as chief scientist at PacBio) jumped headlong into the task of sequencing the strain and turned around a paper on his research in the New England Journal of Medicine only a month--yes, a month--after getting samples of the bug, according to a profile on Schadt last year in Esquire magazine.
Note: We've added chief scientist at PacBio to Schadt's long list of titles. The original version of this profile included only his "scientific strategist" role at the company. We updated the last paragraph to reflect that he is also still chief scientist at PacBio.