June 6 in Portland, Maine

Symposium on Risks and Opportunities of AI in Clinical Drug Development

About the Symposium

Where will the AI revolution take pharmaceutical science?

The Symposium on Risks and Opportunities of AI in Clinical Drug Development is an event jointly sponsored by Pfizer Inc., Northeastern University, the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Statistics Department and Data Science Institute at Columbia University, and OHDSI.

This event is designed to serve as a platform for distinguished statisticians, data scientists, regulators, and other professionals to address the challenges and opportunities of AI in pharmaceutical medicine; to foster collaboration among industry, academia, regulatory agencies, and professional associations; and to propose recommendations with policy implications for proper implementation of AI in promoting public health.

As a convener of researchers in the fields of AI, data science, biotechnology, computational medicine, and more, industry partners, academic faculty, and entrepreneurs, the Roux Institute at Northeastern University is uniquely positioned to host this event and connect the experts needed to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented.

The Roux Institute at Northeastern University is a center of activity for both the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics Center (OHDSI), which advances healthcare by fostering reproducible research through open science, and the Institute for Experiential Artificial Intelligence (IEAI), which researches and develops human-centric AI solutions that leverage machine technology to extend human intelligence. ​

Co-sponsored by Pfizer, the American Statistical Association, Northeastern University, and Columbia University, the Roux Institute at Northeastern University is pleased to host this symposium focused on Risks and Opportunities in Clinical Drug Development.

Challenges and Opportunities

Our world increasingly relies on data and computing to create knowledge, make critical decisions, and better predict the future. Data science has emerged to support these data-driven activities by integrating and developing ideas, concepts, and tools from computer science, engineering, information science, statistics, and domain fields. Data science now drives fields as diverse as biology, astronomy, material science, political science, and medicine—not to mention vast tracts of the global economy, key government activities, and quotidian social and societal functions.

The pharmaceutical enterprise has been slower to respond, especially to the rapid developments in AI, but tectonic shifts are underway in approaches to the discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring, and marketing of medicines for the benefit of patients and the health of the community.

While there is much discussion about the potential of AI and modern machine learning tools to transform the drug development paradigm, there is a growing recognition of the paucity of research about the inevitable pitfalls and unintended consequences of the digital revolution in this important area of application. As we move toward personalized and truly evidence-based medicine, the use of AI and machine learning to optimize drug deployment raises a whole different set of challenges.

Conference Co-Chairs
Demissie Alemayehu, Pfizer Inc.
David Madigan, Northeastern University

Date & Time
June 6, 2022, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Ocean Gateway – Portland, ME 04101

Registration Fees

In-person – $125
Virtual – $75
Student – $0

Registration is all-inclusive of refreshments; breakfast and lunch will be served.

Featured Speaker

  • M. Khair ElZarrad

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    M. Khair ElZarrad is the Director of the Office of Medical Policy (OMP) at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).

Speakers and Panelists

  • Javier Cabrera

    Rutgers University
    Javier Cabrera is a Professor in the Department of Statistics and the Department of Medicine, Rutgers University, and a member of the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey and the Institute of Quantitative Biomedicine. He is a winner of the 2010 SPAIG award of the American Statistical Association, a Fulbright fellow, and a Henry Rutgers fellow. 

  • Usama Fayyad

    Northeastern University
    Usama Fayyad, PhD, is the Inaugural Executive Director for the Institute of Experiential AI, Northeastern University and a Professor of the Practice in Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Science.

  • Asieh Golozar

    Odysseus Data Services
    Asieh Golozar is the VP, Global Head of Data Science at Odysseus Data Services, Inc, leading a team of data scientists, epidemiologists and bioinformaticians focusing on epidemiological research and advanced and innovative analytics across a large global network of observational data. 

  • Shameer Khader

    Shameer Khade is a Senior Director of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at AstraZeneca, USA. He leads a global team that leverages trans-disciplinary (biomedical, healthcare, and clinical) big data and machine intelligence to accelerate drug discovery and development. 

  • Kannan Natarajan

    Pfizer Inc.
    Kannan Natarajan is Head of Global Biometrics and Data Management and is part of the Global Product Development Leadership Team at Pfizer Inc.

  • Ravi Parikh

    University of Pennsylvania
    Ravi Parikh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Staff Physician at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics.

  • Adler Perotte

    Columbia University
    Adler Perotte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University as well as the Chief Science and Innovation Officer at Spiden AG.

  • Anthony Philippakis

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
    Anthony Philippakis is the Chief Data Officer of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Co-Director of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center.

  • Prasanna Rao

    Pfizer Inc.
    Prasanna Rao is an AI practitioner and industry thought leader whose current role is Senior Director, Global Head of AI/ML for Data Management and Monitoring at Pfizer Inc.

  • David Sontag

    David Sontag is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at MIT, and member of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

  • Robert D. Truog

    Harvard Medical School
    Robert Truog is the Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesiology & Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School.

  • Mark J. van der Laan

    University of California, Berkeley
    Mark Johannes van der Laan, PhD, is the Jiann-Ping Hsu/Karl E. Peace Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics and Co-Director, Center for Targeted Machine Learning and Causal Inference at the University of California, Berkeley. 

  • Robert Vandersluis

    Robert Vandersluis is VP of Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Policy at GSK, where he researches ethical and public policy issues surrounding the development and deployment of AI system in the pharmaceutical sector. 

  • Li Wang

    Li Wang is a Senior Director and the Head of Statistical Innovation group in AbbVie. Dr. Wang is leading Design Advisory which provides strategic and quantitative consulting as requested to all Development teams in all Therapeutic Areas to facilitate innovative thinking and complex innovative design evaluation. 

  • Marinka Zitnik

    Harvard University
    Marinka Zitnik is an Assistant Professor at Harvard University with appointments in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Harvard Data Science.

About the Roux Institute at Northeastern University

Established in January 2020, the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine is designed as an engine of innovation, talent, and economic growth for Maine, northern New England, and beyond. Partnerships set the model of graduate education and research apart. With leading companies and nonprofit organizations at the table from day one, the Roux Institute creates programs that are preparing the workforce to stay agile and thrive in a competitive landscape powered by artificial intelligence.

The Roux Institute is nurturing an environment for high-impact research and innovation in computer and data science, digital engineering, the advanced life sciences and medicine, and other tech fields. And the Roux helps entrepreneurs launch businesses focused on and powered by technology. Together, with our partners, we are creating an innovation corridor that will stretch from Boston to Portland and beyond.

Planning your Trip

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Maine. The meeting venue, Ocean Gateway, and the Roux Institute are located in Portland’s historic Old Port neighborhood close to world class museums, restaurants and more. Information about traveling to and staying in Portland can be found below. And check out the Roux team’s Guide to Portland to make the most of your stay.

Staying in Portland

We have reserved a block of rooms at the AC Hotel Portland Downtown Waterfront, across the street from Ocean Gateway and just down the block from the Roux Institute.  Please call the hotel at 207-835-6590 and mention this conference, or use this link, to reserve your room. Space is limited – we recommend booking early.

Getting to Portland, Maine

It’s easy to get here and easy to get around once you arrive. Portland is just two hours from Boston and four from New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. The Portland International Jetport has 1-stop connections to over 2,000 cities worldwide. Greater Portland is also serviced by national and regional bus lines, offering numerous routes to Maine or ride the rails on the Train to Maine, on the “Downeaster,” Amtrak’s passenger service between Boston and Brunswick.

Parking in Portland

Hourly parking is available at the Roux Institute (100 Fore Street) on level PO and payable by credit card. There are several public pay lots in the neighborhood around the Roux and Ocean Gateway, and the hotel above also offer paid parking with room reservation.

Sponsored by

Contact information

For any queries unrelated to registration payments, please reach out to:

David Madigan ([email protected])
Demissie Alemayehu ([email protected])