Our Research Team


John Quackenbush, Ph.D.

Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology

Director, Center for Cancer Computational Biology

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Biography

Quackenbush’s route to a career in genomics has been, in a word, unconventional; the result of both redirection due to decreased funding for basic research in physics, as well as “being in the right place at the right time” to work instead on the Human Genome Project. Throughout his career, he has pioneered many advances in genomics and bioinformatics. His move to DFCI in 2005 fulfilled a youthful dream—a Harvard professorship—albeit in a very different field from his early fantasies.

One of Quackenbush's major accomplishments at DFCI has been to design and implement an “integrated clinical and research data warehouse.” This is a savvy way to merge information from multiple sources and make it readily accessible, while reducing human error and bypassing problems inherent in linking together different types of data. Oracle and InforSense, two software companies that promote the integration of information, played key roles in the success of this project.

Not long after the data warehouse came to life in 2008, Quackenbush was asked, “What’s next?” His reply: “I don’t know where this [integration system] will go next, to be honest, but it’s likely to go somewhere.” Two years later, “somewhere” definitely includes the LGRC, where he and Mick Correll are leading efforts to collect, manage, and analyze the data produced by the consortium and make it available to other scientists who are studying lung disease.