Sage Bionetworks Synapse Project




The recent exponential growth of biological “omics” data has occurred concurrently with a decline in the number of NMEs approved by the FDA, proving that biological research productivity does not scale with biological data generation and the analysis and interpretation of genomic data is a bottleneck in the development of new treatments. Sage Bionetworks’ mission is to catalyze a cultural transition from the traditional single lab, single-company, and single-therapy R&D paradigm to a model with broad precompetitive collaboration on the analysis of large scale data in medical sciences.  Part of Sage’s solution is Synapse, a platform for open, reproducible data-driven science, which will support the reusability of information facilitated by ontology-based services and applications directed at scientific researchers and data curators. Sage Bionetworks is actively pursuing the acquisition, curation, statistical quality control, and hosting of datasets that integrate both clinical phenotype and genomic data along with an intermediate molecular layer such as gene expression or proteomic data.  We expect hosting these sorts of unique, integrative, high value datasets in the public domain on Synapse will seed a variety of analytical approaches to drive new treatments based on better understanding of disease states and the biological effects of existing drugs.  In this webinar, Dr. Michael Kellen, Director of Technology at Sage Bionetworks will provide a demonstration of an alpha version of the Synapse platform, and discuss its application to clinical science.


Early in my career, I realized that the application of engineering principles and methodology to the life sciences could improve the productivity of research and bring important new treatments to patients.  At Sage Bionetworks, I am working to bring support for large scale analysis of biological networks and data into the public domain, and have overall responsibility for the development of the Sage Commons platform to enable large scale analysis of biological datasets via networks. In this role I personally lead the gathering of product requirements, use cases, and conceptual design of the platform.  I have recruited and manage a growing team currently at 5 full-time software engineers supporting the development of the Synapse system.

I have over 10 years experience developing software for academic and corporate users in the life sciences, and have brought several innovative and award-winning products to market in this space covering simulation, data capture and analysis workflow, data integration, and team collaboration.  Prior to working at Sage Bionetworks, I held a variety of positions with Teranode corporation since joining as the company's first employee in 2002, covering product development, field consulting, product management, and development management. I completed a doctorate in bioengineering at the University of Washington in 2002 with a focus in computational biology.  Also at the UW, I helped develop scientific modeling and simulation technology still in use in the open source community; a version of this technology was subsequently licensed and commercialized by Teranode.