February 28, 2022

Sage Bionetworks Appoints New Chief Data Officer

Sage Bionetworks Appoints New Chief Data Officer

Brian O’Connor to fill new role at nonprofit


Seattle, February 22, 2022: Biomedical research nonprofit Sage Bionetworks has added Brian O’Connor as Chief Data Officer, a new position within the organization focused on guiding Sage’s data strategy that supports more than 50 cross-institutional scientific research programs.

Dr. O’Connor comes from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he served as a Principal Investigator in the Data Sciences Platform. He previously held positions at the UCSC (University of California at Santa Clara) Genomics Institute, including as Director of the Computational Genomics Platform. Throughout his career, Dr. O’Connor has made significant strategic contributions across many biomedical data sharing initiatives including the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) program, the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) initiative, BioData Catalyst, CRDC, and AnVIL.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brian to Sage. His wealth of experience with data-enabling infrastructure across the biomedical research community makes him a great fit to expand the data strategy we need to accelerate the translation of science to medicine. He’s an extremely qualified researcher and leader, and I’m confident in his ability to guide Sage’s data program for the coming decade,” said Lara Mangravite, Sage Bionetworks’ President.

As Chief Data Officer, Dr. O’Connor will assume leadership of a new team at Sage specifically focused on data and data tooling. This centralized team will be responsible for developing a cohesive data strategy to guide priorities for organization-level tooling and infrastructure, including in partnership with the Sage Data Platform. They will also be responsible for implementing these data services across Sage’s research programs — including those focusing on cancer, neurodegenerative disease, clinical informatics, digital health, and other biomedical domains.

“I am excited to leverage my experience in data infrastructure to further Sage’s cross-disciplinary work in health research,” said Dr. O’Connor. “Collaborative data practices are essential in today’s research, and I look forward to working with an innovative team that is leading the field in applying and developing these practices.” Dr. O’Connor has extensive experience implementing standards and interoperable systems across the biomedical data ecosystem, including through the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) and as an active member of the NIH’s Cloud Platform Interoperability Effort.  He will leverage these experiences to facilitate interoperability of the Sage Data Platform with the larger biomedical research ecosystems through the use of key community standards.

Dr. O’Connor will oversee data infrastructure development for multiple large-scale projects with at least five National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes, facilitating data sharing and collaboration among research communities investigating cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome, and other disease application areas. Sage’s interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers works together to provide researchers access to tools and scientific approaches to share data, benchmark analytical methods, and explore collective insights, all with a commitment to ethical governance and user-centered design.

About Sage Bionetworks

Sage Bionetworks (sagebionetworks.org) is a non-profit health research organization based in Seattle, Washington. Sage uses open practices that increase the reliability of scientific claims to speed the translation of science to medicine. Through its work, Sage supports responsible data sharing, objective evaluation of methods and results across researchers, and the empowerment of participants to be active partners in research.

Susan Ward, Team Soapbox