Phil Bourne Named to New NIH Data Science Post

December 11, 2013

By Bio-IT World Staff 

December 11, 2013 | Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, has named Philip Bourne as the NIH’s first Associate Director for Data Science. The position, which has been occupied by Acting Associate Director Eric Green since its creation was announced in January, is not tied to a specific NIH center or office, but will identify opportunities across the scope of the NIH’s activities to advance the use of big data in scientific discovery.

Dr. Bourne is currently serving as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Industry Alliances at UC San Diego, where he applies data mining tools to complex problems in pharmacology, cellular biology and immunology. In additional to his own research, Bourne is widely recognized as an advocate for the free exchange of scientific data, both by removing barriers to the publishing of quality work, and by encouraging the sharing of the raw data that underlies experimental results. As founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Computational Biology, he has turned an open access journal operating on this egalitarian publishing model into one of the leading venues for research in its field. For this and other contributions to the open practice of science, Bourne was awarded the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award by Jeff Bizzaro and The Franklin Award is granted every year at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo to a scientist who epitomizes the spirit in which Benjamin Franklin refused to patent his inventions.

Bourne’s other professional activities include acting as Associate Director of the online Protein Data Bank, which collects and provides free access to biomolecular information, and offering professional advice to younger scientists through the “Ten Simple Rules” series of video presentations and articles. Dr. Bourne will assume his new role at the NIH in early 2014.

See Bourne's Franklin Award address from 2009: