Isaac (Zak) Kohane, M.D., Ph.D., serves as an independent Corporate Director on the Board of Directors of Inovalon where he brings industry-leading vision and experience in the field of healthcare big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer-assisted medical decision making. Dr. Kohane is the inaugural chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Marion V. Nelson Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. He serves as co-author of the Institute of Medicine Report on Precision Medicine that has been the template for national efforts. He is an industry leader in the development and application of computational techniques to address disease at multiple scales, from whole healthcare systems as “living laboratories” to the functional genomics of neurodevelopment.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Kohane’s research agenda has been driven by the vision of what biomedical researchers could do to find new cures, provide new diagnoses, and deliver the best care available if data could be converted more rapidly to knowledge and knowledge to practice. In so doing, Dr. Kohane has designed and led multiple internationally adopted efforts to “instrument” the healthcare enterprise for discovery and to enable innovative decision-making tools to be applied to the point of care. At the same time, the new insights afforded by omic-scale molecular analyses have inspired him and his collaborators to work on re-characterizing and reclassifying diseases such as autism, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancers. In many of these studies, the developmental trajectories of thousands of genes have been a powerful tool in unraveling complex diseases.
Dr. Kohane leads the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) project, a National Institutes of Health-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) initiative based at Partners HealthCare System in Boston, MA. Dr. Kohane’s i2b2 project is currently deployed internationally to more than 120 major academic health centers to drive discovery research in disease and pharmacovigilance, including providing evidence on drugs that ultimately contributed to a boxed warning by the FDA. Dr. Kohane also currently leads three NIH-funded projects: 1) a Center for Excellence in Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) called PIC-SURE (Patient-centered Information Commons: Standardization Unification of Research Elements) to both create a nationally scalable research data-sharing infrastructure and demonstrate its use for neurodevelopmental diseases; 2) a Center for Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) to study neuropsychiatric disease at multiple levels (from molecular characterization of induced neurons obtained from fibroblasts of patients to automated classification of the textual component of their electronic medical record); and 3) the Coordinating Center for the Undiagnosed Disease Network, where patients with rare and unknown diseases are provided with combined clinical and molecular diagnoses in a nationally scaled infrastructure so that they can see the right expert with the relevant data at hand.
Dr. Kohane received his International Baccalaureate from the International School of Geneva. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in computer science with honors from Brown University, undertook pre-clinical studies at Boston University School of Medicine and undertook his doctoral work at Boston University in the Clinical Decision Making Group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab for Computer Science. He received his medical degree and doctorate from Boston University. Dr. Kohane performed his postdoctoral training at Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA. He holds of has held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital Boston, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Kohane serves or has served as a principal investigator, co-investigator, or other senior role in more than 50 funded research initiatives under the National Institute of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Laboratory of Medicine (NLM), and other institutions. He has been the principal author or co-author of more than 330 peer-reviewed publications.