Scientific Advisory Board

Eric Schadt, PhD

Eric Schadt, PhD

Eric Schadt is Chief Scientific Officer of Pacific Biosciences and Director of the Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. He oversees the scientific strategy for Pacific Biosciences, including creating the vision for next-generation applications of the company’s technology, contributing to the evolution of Pacific Biosciences’ transformative sequencing technology, and playing a key role in the company’s strategic relationships. At Mount Sinai, Eric is creating a world-class data analytic center where researchers can query and learn from data using cutting-edge technologies like next generation sequencing to create disease models and ultimately help develop and improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

He is also a founding member of Sage Bionetworks, an open-access genomics initiative designed to build and support databases and an accessible platform for creating innovative dynamic disease models.

Dr. Schadt joined Pacific Biosciences in May 2009 from Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. in Seattle, where he was Executive Scientific Director of Genetics. Dr. Schadt’s work at Rosetta involved the generation and integration of very large-scale sequence variation, molecular profiling, and clinical data in disease populations to construct the molecular networks that define disease states and link molecular biology to physiology in ways that can impact clinical medicine.

Dr. Schadt has contributed to a number of discoveries relating to the genetic basis of common human diseases such as diabetes and obesity, which have been widely published in leading scientific journals. His research has provided novel insights into what is needed to master diverse, large-scale data collected on normal and disease populations in order to elucidate the complexity of disease and make more informed decisions in the drug discovery arena. Prior to joining Rosetta, Dr. Schadt was a senior research scientist at Roche Bioscience. He received his BA in applied mathematics and computer science from California Polytechnic State University, his MA in pure mathematics from UCLA, and his Ph.D. in bio-mathematics from UCLA.

Dr. Butte

Atul Butte, MD, PhD

Atul Butte, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, and by courtesy, Medicine, Pathology, and Computer Science, and is Chief of the Division of Systems Medicine at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Dr. Butte trained in Computer Science at Brown University, worked as a software engineer at Apple and Microsoft, received his MD at Brown University, trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston, then received his PhD from Harvard Medical School and MIT.

Dr. Butte has authored nearly 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in Wired Magazine and in the New York Times Science Times and the International Herald Tribune (2008), Wall Street Journal (2010 -2012), San Jose Mercury News (2010), and the San Francisco Chronicle (2013). Dr. Butte is also the principal investigator of ImmPort, the archival and dissemination repository for clinical and molecular datasets funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 2013, Dr. Butte was recognized by the White House as an Open Science Champion of Change for promoting science through publicly available data. Other recent awards include the 2013 induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the 2012 FierceBiotech IT “Top 10 Biotech Techies”, and the 2011 National Human Genome Research Institute Genomic Advance of the Month. Dr. Butte is also a founder of three investor-backed data-driven companies: Personalis, providing clinical interpretation of whole genome sequences, Carmenta, discovering diagnostics for pregnancy complications, and NuMedii, finding new uses for drugs through open molecular data.


Dr Popiel



Dr. Richard Popiel leads medical strategy for Regence health insurance plans and provides executive leadership on care initiatives and cost management activities across the corporation.

He came to Regence from Horizon Healthcare Innovations, where he was president and chief operating officer. Prior to that, he served as vice president/senior medical director for The Permanente Company.

He has chaired the National Council of Physician and Pharmacist Executives for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, led the Chief Medical Officer Leadership Group at America’s Health Insurance Plans, and served on the AHIP board of directors. He has held board memberships with the American Cancer Society, the New Jersey Sharing Network (organ donation/transplantation), and the Summit Speech School. He serves on the George Washington University Alumni board of directors.

Dr. Popiel earned a B.S. in biology and his M.D. at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He also holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He is board-certified in internal medicine.



Howard L. Weiner, MD

Howard L. Weiner is the Robert L. Kroc Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School, Director and Founder of the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, and Co-Director of the Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Weiner established the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2000, which combines clinical evaluation, MRI imaging, and immune monitoring for individual care of MS patients.

Dr. Weiner pioneered the use of immunotherapy and the drug cyclophosphamide for the treatment of MS and has investigated immune abnormalities in the disease including the role of the innate immune system and regulatory T cells. He has also established the use of the mucosal immune system for the treatment of autoimmune and other diseases. Based on his work, vaccines are being tested in multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Weiner is the author of “Curing MS: How Science is Solving the Mystery of Multiple Sclerosis” that chronicles the history of MS, his 30+ years in the research and clinical treatment of MS, and details his “21 point hypothesis” on the etiology and treatment of multiple sclerosis. He is the 2007 recipient of the John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research and in 2008 received the Betty and David Koetser Memorial Prize. In 2009, Dr. Weiner was presented the Nature SciCafe Award for Outstanding Research Achievement. He received his BA from Dartmouth University and his MD from University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Philip De Jager, MD, PhD

Philip De Jager is the Stephen R. and Kathleen P. Haley Professor for the Neurosciences, Associate Professor of Neurology, and a researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He also serves at the Director for Basic and Translational Research at the Institute for Neurosciences and the Director of the Program in Translational Neuropsychiatric Genomics in Brigham & Women’s Department of Neurology. His research focuses understanding the role of human genetics variation in neurologic disease, as well as developing new drugs and diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment algorithms for personalized disease management.

Dr. De Jager has won numerous honors and prizes, most recently the Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar award in 2008. He received his BS in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and French literature from Yale University, his PhD in neurogenetics from Rockefeller University, his MD from Cornell University, and his MMSc in clinical investigation from Harvard Medical School and MIT.


Maria Pia Sormani, PhD

Maria Pia Sormani, PhD is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Genoa, Italy, where she teaches biostatistics and research methods to medical students.

Dr. Sormani has collaborated for more than ten years with the Neuroimaging Research Unit at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, studying the methodological issues related to the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis. She was also a fellow at the Unit of Clinical Epidemiology and at the Biophysics Unit for the National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa in cancer clinical studies for over twelve years. She serves on the US Multiple Sclerosis National Society Clinical Trials Advisory Committee. Dr. Sormani has published more than 200 papers in peer reviewed journals. She received her Master in Medical Biostatistics at the University of Milan, her Master in Medical Physics at the University of Pisa, and her degrees in Physics at the University of Genoa in Italy.

Jeff Hanke, PhD

Jeff Hanke, PhD

Jeff Hanke is currently Senior Vice President, Research, Global Head Biotherapeutics Research at Boehringer Ingelheim where he leads research activities at the company’s Ridgefield, CT, location and oversees biotherapeutics research across the company.

Dr. Hanke joined Boehringer Ingelheim from AstraZeneca, where he served as Vice President of AstraZeneca Cancer Discovery at AstraZeneca R&D, in Boston, MA. At AstraZeneca, he and his team of researchers focus on novel approaches to cancer therapy. Dr. Hanke joined AstraZeneca from Pfizer, where he managed discovery teams in the areas of immunology, inflammation, allergy/respiratory, and cancer from 1993 to 1999. In addition, Dr. Hanke helped to establish Pfizer’s Discovery Technology Center, located in Cambridge, MA, which focuses on applying new technologies to drug discovery. Dr. Hanke received his M.S. in Biology from Fordham University in NY and his Ph.D. in 1986 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He completed his post-doctoral training at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX.

Rober R. Ruffolo, Jr., PhD

Robert R. Ruffolo, Jr., PhD

Robert Ruffolo is a retired president of R&D at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals where he spent 7 years and still acts as a consultant. He joined Wyeth after 17 years at SmithKline Beecham (now GSK) and 6 years at Lilly Research Laboratories.

During his celebrated career in Pharmaceutical R&D, Dr. Ruffolo played a leading role in the discovery and/or development of a number of now marketed products, including carvedilol (Coreg/Kredex/Dilatrend) for the treatment of congestive heart failure, acute MI and hypertension, dobutamine (Dobutrex) for heart failure, ropinerole (Requip) for Parkinson’s Disease, and eprosartan (Teveten) for hypertension. Dr. Ruffolo received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy in 1973, and his Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology in 1976, both from The Ohio State University.

He has authored nearly 500 full-length publications, and has edited 17 books. He was the Editor-in-Chief of three international pharmacology journals, has served on the editorial boards of 28 other international scientific journals, and on the boards and committees of several industry organizations. Dr. Ruffolo has won numerous prestigious awards honoring his outstanding contributions to the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, he received the 2008 Scrip Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2008 Discoverer’s Award for the discovery and development of Coreg (carvedilol).