Philip Bourne Named as NIH Associate Director for Data Science

Philip Bourne, PhDIn December 2013, after a nearly yearlong search, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, appointed Philip Bourne, PhD, to fill a permanent position as Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) starting in January 2014.


“By devoting a high level position to leading and coordinating strategies related to computation and informatics in biomedicine, the NIH signals a recognition that the era of Big Data in biomedicine has arrived,” says Russ B. Altman, MD, PhD, professor of bioengineering, genetics and medicine at Stanford University and principal investigator of Simbios, the National Center for Physics-Based Simulation of Biological Structures. “This constitutes yet another step towards having biomedical research and medical practice become more quantitative, precise, and reproducible.”


Bourne is also a great pick for the job, Altman says, given his wide range of relevant experience, including helping to lead the creation of a major biological database (the Protein Data Bank); using data mining techniques for discovery; starting an open source journal; creating novel ways for delivering biomedical content using internet, and many other innovations.  “He also has just the right temperament for navigating the complex structures at NIH,” Altman adds.


Bourne’s deep technical understanding of the issues in biomedical computing will also serve him well, Altman says. “This is a technical discipline and the leadership must have technical credentials. We are in good hands.” 


For more information on the Bourne appointment, see the NIH press release at

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