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Tech Tonics

Updated 5 days ago

Business
Technology
News
Health & Fitness
Medicine
Business News
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Science
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Tech Tonics, the Podcast, is a twice-monthly program focused on the people and passion at the intersection of technology and health. Hosted by Lisa Suennen and David Shaywitz (the co-authors of “Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare With Technology?”) the show draws on their experience in business, medicine, and health-IT.The Tech Tonics podcast seeks to bring the people in the digital health field to life and, ideally, elevate humanism in a healthcare world captivated by technology. “We deeply believe in what Robert Coles, an inspiration to us both, has termed ‘the call of stories,’” David Shaywitz says. “Our aspiration is to bring the spirit of Coles and Michael Lewis to the world of digital health.”Together, Suennen and Shaywitz engage a range of intriguing guests in discussions that enable listeners to appreciate the stories behind the startups and the people behind the passion.Lisa Suennen is the Managing Partner of Venture Valkyrie Consulting, LLC, a firm that provides advisory services to corporate and independent venture capital funds and to large and small companies around investment and product strategy, innovation spin-outs, market development, partnerships and financing. She is currently a member of the Qualcomm Life Advisory Board, the Sanofi Integrated Care Advisory Board, the Dignity Health Foundation Board, and an Advisor to the California Health Care Foundation Innovation Fund and a member of several private company Boards of Directors.Dr. David Shaywitz is the Chief Medical Officer of DNAnexus, a company that makes it easier to work with genomic data using advanced bioinformatics and scalable compute systems based on the cloud. He received his M.D. from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Science, and Technology at Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at MIT. He trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and conducted his post-doctoral research in Doug Melton’s lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.Tech Tonics, the Podcast is produced by Jason Lopez and syndicated by Connected Social Media. You can also find out more at venturevalkyrie.com and connectedsocialmedia.com.

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Tech Tonics, the Podcast, is a twice-monthly program focused on the people and passion at the intersection of technology and health. Hosted by Lisa Suennen and David Shaywitz (the co-authors of “Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare With Technology?”) the show draws on their experience in business, medicine, and health-IT.The Tech Tonics podcast seeks to bring the people in the digital health field to life and, ideally, elevate humanism in a healthcare world captivated by technology. “We deeply believe in what Robert Coles, an inspiration to us both, has termed ‘the call of stories,’” David Shaywitz says. “Our aspiration is to bring the spirit of Coles and Michael Lewis to the world of digital health.”Together, Suennen and Shaywitz engage a range of intriguing guests in discussions that enable listeners to appreciate the stories behind the startups and the people behind the passion.Lisa Suennen is the Managing Partner of Venture Valkyrie Consulting, LLC, a firm that provides advisory services to corporate and independent venture capital funds and to large and small companies around investment and product strategy, innovation spin-outs, market development, partnerships and financing. She is currently a member of the Qualcomm Life Advisory Board, the Sanofi Integrated Care Advisory Board, the Dignity Health Foundation Board, and an Advisor to the California Health Care Foundation Innovation Fund and a member of several private company Boards of Directors.Dr. David Shaywitz is the Chief Medical Officer of DNAnexus, a company that makes it easier to work with genomic data using advanced bioinformatics and scalable compute systems based on the cloud. He received his M.D. from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Science, and Technology at Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at MIT. He trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and conducted his post-doctoral research in Doug Melton’s lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.Tech Tonics, the Podcast is produced by Jason Lopez and syndicated by Connected Social Media. You can also find out more at venturevalkyrie.com and connectedsocialmedia.com.

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
46
2
0
0
0

Staying up to speed on health tech at the gym was never so fun!

By lagomer11 - May 12 2019
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I’ve been a long time listener of this incredibly informative and humorous podcast. It always cuts through the hype (of which there is plenty) and offers a pragmatic perspective on what is really happening in the health tech industry (the good, the bad and the ugly). A must listen for health tech entrepreneurs who want to learn from past industry mistakes. Thank you, David and Lisa!

Insightful, entertaining and actionable

By J. Barshop - Dec 11 2018
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As the Healthcare industry continues to rapidly evolve, Lisa, David and their amazing guests give listeners an unfair advantage when it comes to staying ahead of the curve. I feel completely at home here - bowled over by brilliant advice and nourishing conversations - and can confidently say that I walk away from each episode with a nugget of gold. Highly recommend listening and subscribing to Tech Tonics - keep up the great work guys!

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
46
2
0
0
0

Staying up to speed on health tech at the gym was never so fun!

By lagomer11 - May 12 2019
Read more
I’ve been a long time listener of this incredibly informative and humorous podcast. It always cuts through the hype (of which there is plenty) and offers a pragmatic perspective on what is really happening in the health tech industry (the good, the bad and the ugly). A must listen for health tech entrepreneurs who want to learn from past industry mistakes. Thank you, David and Lisa!

Insightful, entertaining and actionable

By J. Barshop - Dec 11 2018
Read more
As the Healthcare industry continues to rapidly evolve, Lisa, David and their amazing guests give listeners an unfair advantage when it comes to staying ahead of the curve. I feel completely at home here - bowled over by brilliant advice and nourishing conversations - and can confidently say that I walk away from each episode with a nugget of gold. Highly recommend listening and subscribing to Tech Tonics - keep up the great work guys!
Cover image of Tech Tonics

Tech Tonics

Updated 5 days ago

Read more

Tech Tonics, the Podcast, is a twice-monthly program focused on the people and passion at the intersection of technology and health. Hosted by Lisa Suennen and David Shaywitz (the co-authors of “Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare With Technology?”) the show draws on their experience in business, medicine, and health-IT.The Tech Tonics podcast seeks to bring the people in the digital health field to life and, ideally, elevate humanism in a healthcare world captivated by technology. “We deeply believe in what Robert Coles, an inspiration to us both, has termed ‘the call of stories,’” David Shaywitz says. “Our aspiration is to bring the spirit of Coles and Michael Lewis to the world of digital health.”Together, Suennen and Shaywitz engage a range of intriguing guests in discussions that enable listeners to appreciate the stories behind the startups and the people behind the passion.Lisa Suennen is the Managing Partner of Venture Valkyrie Consulting, LLC, a firm that provides advisory services to corporate and independent venture capital funds and to large and small companies around investment and product strategy, innovation spin-outs, market development, partnerships and financing. She is currently a member of the Qualcomm Life Advisory Board, the Sanofi Integrated Care Advisory Board, the Dignity Health Foundation Board, and an Advisor to the California Health Care Foundation Innovation Fund and a member of several private company Boards of Directors.Dr. David Shaywitz is the Chief Medical Officer of DNAnexus, a company that makes it easier to work with genomic data using advanced bioinformatics and scalable compute systems based on the cloud. He received his M.D. from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Science, and Technology at Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at MIT. He trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and conducted his post-doctoral research in Doug Melton’s lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.Tech Tonics, the Podcast is produced by Jason Lopez and syndicated by Connected Social Media. You can also find out more at venturevalkyrie.com and connectedsocialmedia.com.

Rank #1: Tech Tonics: Sridhar Iyengar on IoT Meets Life Science Research

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Many entrepreneurs and investors on our podcast advise would-be innovators to focus on the problem to be solved, rather than become wrapped up in a particular technology. “Your solution,” VC Dave McClure famously warned entrepreneurs, “Is not my problem.”

On the other hand, many scientists – and students of science – have emphasized the pivotal role of new technology in driving progress. For instance, legendary biologist Sydney Brenner once described scientific progress as “the interplay of techniques, discoveries, and new ideas – probably in that order.”

Today’s guest, serial entrepreneur Sridhar Iyengar is an example of the second type of innovator, one who is captivated by a particular technology and determined to find a use for it. His passion for signal processing algorithms was a key factor in the success of his first major company, AgaMatrix and also a pivotal driver of his second major company, Misfit Wearables. He’s now started a new, exciting company, Elemental Machines, which he might pitch as “internet of things meets life science research.”

Join us as we discuss Sri’s entrepreneurial journey from Knoxville, Tennessee to Silicon Valley and Cambridge, MA; learn how he first met his long-time collaborator Sonny Vu; and hear how John Sculley (of Apple and Pepsi fame) played a pivotal role in his digital health career.

This episode of Tech Tonics is sponsored by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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Jan 02 2017
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Rank #2: Tech Tonics: Rasu Shrestha – Living Inside the Culture Clash

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Rasu Shrestha, MD, is one of those doctors who found his way from medicine to technology. As he puts it, he rolled downhill from his birthplace in Kathmandu, Nepal, across many continents and into medical school in India. But Rasu kept rolling, finding his way to London, Los Angeles and then Pittsburgh where he now serves as Chief Innovation Officer at UPMC, one of the nation’s largest integrated delivery systems.

According to Rasu a culture clash is playing out in healthcare, specifically a clash between physicians and innovators and the tension between what is known and what is new. Doctors are taught to “go with the evidence-based – the tried, the true the tested.” On the other hand, innovators are taught to do something totally new outside the realm of what is known. The two need to come together. Rasu is calling for a shift in mindset from doing digital to being digital and for a coming together of physicians and innovators towards mutual goals that incorporate design thinking, end user engagement and new ways of understanding each other’s perspectives. Rasu acknowledges that this shift is essential given the role that UPMC plays in defining digital health success stories as both purchaser and one of the nation’s most prolific funders of digital health products and services.

And like many physician-innovators we have interviewed at Tech Tonics, Rasu has a creative side that extends beyond the medical. He is a prolific painter and likes to express himself as much through canvas as code.

We are grateful to AARP for sponsoring this episode of TechTonics. AARP’s Market Innovation team works to spark innovation in the market that will benefit the quality of life for people over the age of 50.

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Dec 12 2016
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Rank #3: Tech Tonics: Sean Duffy’s Ascent from Legos to Healthcare

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Sean Duffy was one of those kids building monumental Lego edifices when his friends were playing outside. He continued to progress on the building front until he hit on his latest endeavor, the establishment of Omada Health, a company that helps people reduce their risk of progression to Type 2 diabetes by employing a mix of new world technology and old world coaching techniques.

Sean has a pretty impressive Silicon Valley pedigree for a guy raised in Colorado: Google, IDEO and now a startup that has become a leader in the emerging digital health marketplace. He credits his success, in part, to having a ready ability to initiate– to overcome tendencies toward perfectionism that sometimes prevent people from just get started trying things. As Sean says, “I love realizing it’s possible to think something up and just make it happen.” And he still builds Lego creations.

For more information on Tech Tonics, visit:
venturevalkyrie.com

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Jun 22 2015
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Rank #4: Tech Tonics: Amy Abernethy – Dosage, Disney & Data

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If anyone can bridge the gap between technology and health, it just might be Amy Abernethy , oncologist and technologist, who has led the charge, first at Duke and now at Flatiron, for rethinking the way we collect and analyze clinical information.

Born in Houston and raised by her mom in Orlando, Amy learned math by helping her mom write a textbook, “Dosage Calculation,” for nursing students. The book became the gold standard (now in it’s ninth edition) – and Amy is a co-author.

Her interest in math and science clearly took; she attended math camp (with co-host David) at Duke while in middle school, and also programmed computers for NASA.

After college at Penn, she attended medical school at Duke, and apparently really liked Durham, staying there for the rest of her medical training (internal medicine, oncology), then joining the faculty, focusing on how to improve the way oncology data are collected. (She did spend a few years in Australia doing her graduate work in evidence-based medicine and clinical research methods.)

In 2014, Amy joined New York-Based Flatiron Health as SVP and CMO, though she continues to live in Durham, and commutes to Manhattan weekly. We are delighted to welcome this clinician, scholar, executive – and former Disney Can-Can dancer (tune in for details)– to Tech Tonics.

This episode of Tech Tonics is sponsored by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

And for some additional reading….
Dosage Calculation (9th Edition) by Pickar & Abernethy on Amazon here.
David’s reflections on math camp: Forbes post here, video here.
Interview with Lisa on diversity in Silicon Valley here.
Publication by Amy on challenges of using EHR data in oncology here.
Amy’s 2013 TEDMED talk on clinical data here.
Walt Disney News 1990 on Pleasure Island here.

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Sep 25 2017
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Rank #5: Tech Tonics: Glen de Vries – A Series Of Quite Fortunate Events

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Glen de Vries grew up in Manhattan, a nerdy kid who admired Richard Feynman, loved his TRS-80, and went to Carnegie Mellon University planning to study chemistry and computer science. A summer of molecular biology inspired him to switch his major to biology and, after graduation, he found himself in a lab at Columbia University trying to help a productive distributed research team organize their data.

The geek in Glen was sure there must be a better way and, in partnership with Tarek Sherif, he co-founded a cloud-based clinical research company, Medidata Solutions, in 1999. Over the last eighteen years Medidata has become a leading player in the clinical trials market; the New York-based company is today worth nearly $4 Billion.

Today we’ll hear from Glen about the series of quite fortunate events that led to Medidata’s formation, the challenges he faced in breaking into a traditional conservative space, and the opportunities he sees at the intersection of precision medicine, digital health, and value based care. Listeners interested in learning more about Glen’s story are encouraged to listen to Glen on Janelle Anderson’s always-insightful Human Proof of Concept podcast.

This episode of Tech Tonics is sponsored by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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May 23 2017
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Rank #6: Tech Tonics: Linda Avey, We Are Curious

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When 23andMe veteran Linda Avey pitched her new startup, We Are Curious (which focuses on integrating patient-reported symptoms and experiences) she thought she’d emphasize a condition that seemed like an easy win: menopause-associated symptoms.

VCs, she reasoned, would be immediately grasp the size and associated economics of this market, the need to better understand the experience of these patients. Avey was wrong. The response to her presentation was generally crickets. (Presumably, this was a condition unfamiliar to VCs – and yet to be experienced by their second wives.)

Ultimately, after adjusting her presentation to focus on other conditions, Avey received strong investor support – but the initial reaction has stuck with her.

On the latest episode of Tech Tonics, Avey shares her experiences as a cutting-edge entrepreneur, dealing with challenges from regulators (like the FDA) and investors (like VCs not familiar with menopause), while creating new companies that challenge and reinvent healthcare’s status quo, and usher in a new era of participant-focused science and medicine.

We are delighted to welcome Linda Avey to our podcast!

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May 25 2015
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Rank #7: Tech Tonics: Karen Hong, Turning Grad School Pain To VC Gain

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In graduate school, Karen Hong’s dream of becoming a biologist crashed into the inconvenient reality that she couldn’t stand working in the lab. Undaunted, Karen, pivoted into venture capital, and hasn’t looked back.

As befits a future geneticist, Karen chose her own genes extremely wisely: her dad was a legendary wunderkind in Taiwan who had come to the US to pursue grad school at CalTech; her mom, also exceptionally bright, had come to the US to pursue a PhD in Chinese literature at the University of Washington.  After a bit of moving around, they settled in the Bay Area where Karen’s father became a silicon valley tech entrepreneur (who also ran a chicken restaurant in Gilroy on the side).  Karen proudly notes that her dad never took a dollar of venture money for his entrepreneurial endeavors – which is amusing since Karen and her younger sister Nancy both eventually became VCs.

After contemplating journalism (like Lisa) at Berkeley (Go Bears!) but majoring in chemistry (unlike Lisa), Karen went on to graduate school in biology at MIT (where she overlapped with David)  where she loved the coursework and was inspired by the faculty. But she soon discovered that while she was really admired the scientist… who ran the lab she selected at the Whitehead Institute (a relatively unknown early-career geneticist at the time named Eric Lander, who would go on to found the Broad Institute), she realized she couldn’t stand the actual experience of working in the lab – a “soul-crushing” experience with which David (and, one imagines, others) could viscerally relate.

With her characteristic candor and humor, Karen discusses both the lows of graduate school as well as her journey into venture capital, including the pivotal role of an exceptional mentor, Jean George, and some of the challenges she encountered and overcame along the way to her present role: a Boston-based partner at Novo Ventures.

We are delighted to welcome Karen to Tech Tonics. Today’s show — the 100th episode of Tech Tonics! — is sponsored by Medidata: Medidata – the Intelligent Platform for Life Sciences that closes the loop between clinical development and commercialization to power smarter treatments and healthier people.

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Jun 10 2019
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Rank #8: Tech Tonics: Elli Kaplan, Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

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I first met Elli Kaplan, CEO of Neurotrack, when she won the SXSW best new start-up competition a few years back. She wowed the audience for the scope and creativity of what she is trying to do: create a non-invasive test that predicts patients’ risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease years before the appearance of symptoms—somewhat of a holy grail opportunity. She calls the test a “behavioral biomarker,” a big new concept in the intersection of technology and healthcare. As Elli said recently to Wired Magazine, “We’re looking at the first disease in modern history that has the potential to bankrupt nations.”

Elli is not new to tackling the big issues that could bankrupt nations. She spent her early career in the White House, State and Treasury Departments and at the United Nations. While in those settings she developed the skills that helped her navigate complex systems grounded in public policy and economics–a perfect precursor for tackling Alzheimer’s issues. Today she is applying her passion for changing the political system to a healthcare challenge that is intrinsically tied to it.

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Jun 08 2015
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Rank #9: Tech Tonics: Rebecca Kaul – Bending Tech to People, Not People to Tech

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Rebecca Kaul had planned to be a doctor.  But life and the HMO era got in the way.  As a result she went down an entirely different and windy path through chemical engineering, public policy, consulting on information systems and reinsurance.  And together these all led her right back to a different way of contributing to the advancement of medicine.  Today Rebecca is Chief Innovation Officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center where she is side by side with physicians delivering on the mission to end cancer as we know it.

Rebecca has a remarkable record as an intrapreneur, helping launch dozens of companies and new innovations first from inside UPMC and subsequently from her current role inside MD Anderson.  If nothing else, she has learned that successful innovation is far more about culture change and shared values than about technology.  As Rebecca says, one must focus on “purpose finding tech, not tech finding a purpose.”  She speaks about the difference between innovation professionals and innovators, the former being at their best when they focus on helping operations realize a vision for change by serving as the facilitators, not as the problem solvers.  Innovation professionals who “think they can ride in on a white horse and fix things,” she says, are not doing it right.

We are grateful to GE Ventures for their sponsorship today. GE Ventures – Multiple Paths to Big Impact.

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May 20 2019
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Rank #10: Tech Tonics: iRhythm’s Uday Kumar… What Makes Him Tick

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The medical device company iRhythm has been described as that rarest of all breeds – a digital health company with an actual, viable business model behind it. On today’s Tech Tonics podcast, we’re delighted to welcome Uday Kumar, the cardiologist and serial entrepreneur who started the company in his apartment, and learn what makes him tick (hopefully in normal sinus rhythm).

Raised in Rhode Island, the son of two physicians, Uday initially pursued biochemistry at Harvard, but soon found himself drawn to medical devices. After medical school and residency on the east coast, Uday guided himself to Silicon Valley, where he thought the environment would help maximize his chances for success as a medical device entrepreneur.

Apparently, he was right. Uday not only founded iRhythm, a company that reimagined real-world cardiac monitoring by replacing a large backpack attached to leads and wires with a bandaid-size adhesive device, but he later also founded and now leads Element Science, a company tackling the challenge of sudden cardiac death in the days after a patient survives a heart attack.

This episode of Tech Tonics is sponsored by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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May 08 2017
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Rank #11: Tech Tonics: Dr. Sachin Jain… Professional Culture, Patient Focused

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When Dr. Sachin Jain got the call to become Chief Medical Officer of Anthem’s highly-regarded CareMore Unit, he could hardly have feigned surprise. It must have seemed like the role to which he was destined: a physician leader in an innovative delivery system The challenge, he says, was finding one.
The son of a physician, a government major in college, a MD/MBA with experience working for health policy giants Don Berwick and David Blumenthal, several years as Chief Medical Information Officer at Merck – Sachin was ready. The question now is how he plans to marry his talent and experience with a sprinkling of technology and toe-nail clipping, to reshape care delivery, especially outside the walls of traditional hospitals and clinics. Find out on this new episode of Tech Tonics.

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Nov 02 2015
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Rank #12: Tech Tonics: 2015 Health 2.0 Preview with Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya

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Matthew Holt has spent 20 years in health care as a researcher, forecaster, and strategist. He learned from some of the best in forecasting, policy and survey organizations, like the Institute for the Future and Harris Interactive. But these days he’s best known as the author of The Health Care Blog and as Co-Chairman of Health 2.0, which since 2007 has been the leading organization showcasing new health technologies in its conferences, market research, competitions, and tech pilots. For that he’s been mostly self-taught!

Before co-founding Health 2.0 Indu Subaiya was entrepreneur-in-residence at Physic Ventures, vice president of health care and biomedical research at Gerson Lehrman Group and director of outcomes research at Quorum Consulting. Subaiya has interviewed health, tech and media luminaries, including Jillian Michaels, Tim O’Reilly and Aneesh Chopra. She’s also moderated panels and conferences around the world, including SXSW Interactive and the Clinton Health Matters Activation Summit. Subaiya serves on advisory committees with the Office of the National Coordinator, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Health Data Consortium.

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Oct 05 2015
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Rank #13: Tech Tonics: Alex Drane Talks about the Unmentionables

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Alexandra “Alex” Drane has been talking about the Unmentionables like end of life, sex, loneliness and empathy long before it was cool to address these topics as core healthcare issues. Always the brightest light in any room, Alex draws people to her with her fresh and honest take on serious issues and her vivaciousness and joyful approach to her work.

Alex has founded five companies and played a role in shaping many others. Her most current efforts focus on the intersection of caregiving and improving the end-of-life experience. She has dedicated her life to finding the human side of technology and leveraging technology to get the best out of life. She is well known for her presentation of The Unmentionables at the annual Health 2.0 conference and other locales.

In this episode of Tech Tonics, Lisa Suennen and David Shaywitz talk with Alex about the importance of including actual life experiences and emotions in discussions of healthcare a la the Vulnerability Index she developed to characterize these issues. She also discusses her initiatives to improve end of life discussions with the Engage with Grace One Slide Project. David has written about these issues as well: an op-ed for the New York Times while interning at Massachusetts General and recently with Forbes.

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Dec 07 2015
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Rank #14: Tech Tonics: Deneen Vojta – Skating to Where the Healthcare Puck is Going

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Deneen Vojta has played virtually every possible position in the healthcare world. She has at various times been a physician, an entrepreneur and a payer. Today it’s a hat trick, bringing all three of these roles together to bring new clinically valid, evidence-based technologies and services to patients through her current role as Executive Vice President of Enterprise R&D for United Health Group.

Deneen has long been out there ahead of the pack, whether serving as the first female meat slicer at Greenman’s Deli or starting the first direct-to-consumer pediatric and family obesity-prevention technology company long before it was cool. Today she is charged with solving the nation’s biggest healthcare challenges from what is arguably one of the nation’s largest platforms. And skating to where the puck is going is exactly what drives a rabid hockey fan like Deneen.
We are delighted to host Deneen on Tech Tonics today.

We are grateful to our sponsor, AARP Market Innovation. for supporting this episode of Tech Tonics. AARP Market Innovation, which works to spark innovation in the market that will benefit the quality of life for people over 50.

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Jun 19 2017
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Rank #15: Tech Tonics: Susan Desmond-Hellmann, The Inquisitive Leader

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Her illustrious career has taken her from clinician to biotech executive to university chancellor to CEO of the world’s largest foundation, yet throughout this exceptional journey, Susan Desmond-Hellmann has remained empathetic, inquisitive, and emphatically true to herself.

Growing up in Reno, Nevada as one of seven children, Sue was inspired by her father, a pharmacist, and her mother, a teacher; she said she always wanted to be a doctor, but even so, she could not have predicted the direction and velocity of her subsequent career.

In today’s far-ranging discussion, Sue talks about how she discovered her passion for oncology; her introduction to and involvement in the HIV-AIDS crisis; how she and her husband Nick have supported each other across the ups and downs of their often-overlapping careers; their transition to pharma; her return to academia at UCSF after an exceptional decade and a half in industry; and. now as CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, her perspective on the future of public health — a view that leverages quantitative data and focuses on precision and personalization.

This is a captivating conversation that touches on translational research, executive leadership, and public health, as well as the person behind the success story.  David and I spoke to Sue from her home in Washington State and were thrilled to have her on the show.

Today’s episode is sponsored by IDEA pharma, the industry’s leading path-to-market strategy practice, bring more medicines to patients.  You can find them at:
ideapharma.com.

Show Notes:

This is the commentary about orphan drugs cited by David.

This Forbes column from David asks how to leverage data and analytics (as Sue proposes) without fetishizing them.

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Jan 22 2019
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Rank #16: Tech Tonics: Jeff Reid and the Impassioned Pursuit Of Bad Music and Great Science

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From tinkering with computers as a kid, to matriculating at Johns Hopkins while his peers were entering 11th grade, to his PhD in physics, to his current work at drug discovery at Regeneron, Jeff Reid has always embraced his inner nerd.

Today, Jeff is head of genomics informatics at the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), which he describes as “an academic genome center embedded inside of a pharma company.” The RGC combines Electronic Health Record (EHR) data from consented patients at Geisinger (a foundational partner in this project, and described by Jeff as “absolutely visionary”) and other medical centers with genetic (exome) data the RGC generates from these patients; it then integrates these data (utilizing – disclosure – the DNAnexus platform) to generate and prioritize drug targets. So far, it seems to be working phenomenally well based on the work published in top tier journals and presented at prominent scientific conferences. And much of the credit belongs to Jeff.

On today’s show, we review Jeff’s multifaceted journey – from physics to genetics and from Seattle to New York, as well as his experiences as an openly gay leader in industry. We’ll also discuss Jeff’s terrible taste in music and exceptional taste in cocktails, and learn where to get the best mixed drink in Houston (spoiler alert: it’s Anvil).

This episode of Tech Tonics is sponsored by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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Jul 24 2017
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Rank #17: Tech Tonics: Daphne Koller – Guiding Health From AI to Actual Intelligence

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While most of us spent our early teens dealing with the drama of middle school, Daphne Koller was in Israel simultaneously completing high school and college. She was a computer science prodigy on the fast path to a career as a leading AI researcher, an entrepreneur, and now the Chief Computing Officer at Calico, a stealthy, brainy, well-funded startup focused on human longevity.

Along the way, Daphne picked up a MacArthur “Genius” Award and co-founded the online teaching company Coursera – two remarkable accomplishments that we don’t have time to discuss on today’s show. Instead, we learn about her fascinating personal journey from Israel to the Bay Area, then spend most of our time getting up to speed on the current state of AI, and learn where, why, and when it’s likely to palpably impact healthcare.

Of particular interest, Daphne discusses the need for folk who are “bilingual” – who deeply understand both AI and healthcare; such domain knowledge, Daphne says, is critically important, and associated with the development of algorithms that perform the best. We discuss the challenge of balancing the benefits of incorporating domain expertise with the concern that in doing so you might introduce your own preconceived biases.

Today’s episode is brought to you by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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Dec 04 2017
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Rank #18: Tech Tonics: John Wilbanks, Participant-Centric Innovation

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When John Wilbanks graduated from Tulane with a major in philosophy and almost a minor in French, he had little idea that he would become one of the world’s most important forces for good in the areas of citizen science, data sharing, and participant empowerment.

John’s fascinating journey and eclectic career started after college, when he did a stint in the D.C. office of legendary California congressman Pete Stark, and learned about the excitement and challenges of emerging technologies like the interwebs.

He then talked his way from a Craig’s List posting into a job working for Larry Lessig at Harvard Law School, where he began to dig deeply into meaty topics like cyberspace law and internet governance. While in Boston, John also discovered bioinformatics, and soon founded and ran an early company in this space.

After selling his company, John returned to technology governance, spending the next seven years at Creative Commons, before meeting Dr. Stephen Friend and joining the non-profit open science organization Sage Bionetworks, which has introduced novel approaches to data sharing, collaboration, and consent, and has attracted the interest of collaborators ranging from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to Apple Computer.

We’re delighted to have this true champion of participant-driven science on our show today.

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Sep 15 2015
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Rank #19: Tech Tonics: Andy Coravos, Championing Responsible Digital Medicine

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Andy Coravos left a promising career at a top private equity firm to follow her passion and pursue intensive training as a software developer; she now works on the frontier of engineering and medicine as CEO and co-founder of Elektra Labs, focused on the use of digital measures to support clinical research, and the generation of the sort of quality evidence she believes distinguishes “digital health” from “digital medicine.”

The daughter of a dentist and a nurse, Andy grew up with an exposure to healthcare, and an interest in making things, but found herself pursuing economics at college.  After several years at McKinsey, and a stint at the private equity firm KKR, where she was on a promising career trajectory, Andy decided she owed it to herself to pursue what she viewed as her true passion, and she enrolled in an intense coding bootcamp.

This was a profound inflection point in her life, as she has remained closely engaged with tech ever since, including while at Harvard Business School, through stints as a software engineer at Instacart and Akili Interactive, and now at Elektra Labs.  Andy has become an articulate thought leader, helping integrate business, technology, and healthcare in a deeply knowledgeable and considered fashion. We are delighted to have Andy on our show today!

Today’s episode is sponsored by IDEA Pharma, the industry’s leading path-to-market strategy practice, bring more great medicines to patients.  You can find them at:
www.ideapharma.com

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Apr 08 2019
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Rank #20: Tech Tonics: Calum MacRae, Reimagining Medicine From Within

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A brilliant cardiologist and geneticist, Dr. Calum McRae rose to the top of academic medicine – then decided to reinvent it, from the inside.  He just may be the person to do it.

Born on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland, Calum was the son of a physician, and couldn’t resist the call of medicine himself, attending medical school in Edinburgh, and then pursuing cardiology, as well as a genetics PhD, in London.  He continued his scientific training in Boston, with pioneer cardiac geneticists Cricket and Jonathan Seidman; he also repeated his medicine and cardiology training to get certified in the U.S.

Calum thrived in the Harvard ecosystem, and quickly rose to prominence, first at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he did a second postdoc with zebrafish pioneer Mark Fishman, ran the cardiovascular fellowship program; he then became chief of cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Today, he is Vice-Chair for Scientific Innovation at the Brigham and also the recipient of the $75M “One Brave Idea” Award, a five year research grant jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association, Verily, and AstraZeneca.

Calum’s hope is to accelerate medicine by becoming more systematic in the way information is collected and used; he envisions the “learning healthcare system” we’ve all heard so much about, but in his version it is more explicitly linked to getting at the underlying biology, as he discusses on today’s show. It was an honor to interview Calum.

This episode show is sponsored by Medidata  the intelligent platform for life sciences that closes the loop between clinical development and commercialization to power smarter treatments and healthier people.

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May 06 2019
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