Dr. Friend is the President of Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization that provides the tools and environment to conduct dynamic, large-scale collaborative biomedical research. He is an authority in the field of cancer biology and a pioneer in the field of the genetics of gene expression, integrating system biology approaches to complex diseases. Dr. Friend believes that successful biomedical research requires the active participation from all stakeholders. He is reimagining the role of citizens in the research process and is building tools to empower them to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. He also believes in the importance of iteratively generating and testing novel hypotheses transparently and collaboratively. Under his leadership, Sage Bionetworks has developed an open-source technology platform, called Synapse, for data-intensive analysis, sharing and reuse, enabling researchers to perform cutting edge computational biology and research. Dr. Friend is engaging the community to crowd-source solutions to complex biomedical questions through targeted DREAM challenges.
Previously Dr. Friend was Senior Vice President and Franchise Head for Oncology Research at Merck & Co., Inc. where he led Merck’s Basic Cancer Research efforts. Formerly Dr. Friend along with Dr. Hartwell founded and co-led the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s “Seattle Project”, an advanced institute for drug discovery and later they co-founded Rosetta Inpharmatics with Dr. Leroy Hood. Dr. Friend also held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School from 1987 to 1995 and at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1990 to 1995. He received his M.D/Ph.D. from Indiana University. Dr. Friend was named an Ashoka Fellow for his work at Sage Bionetworks.