A letter from the Chair: introducing the members of the inaugural GA4GH Strategic Leadership Committee

13 Jun 2024

Dear GA4GH Community,

I am pleased to announce the formation of the GA4GH Strategic Leadership Committee and the appointment of its inaugural cohort of leaders. Following an open nomination process, we have selected ten individuals to join the Strategic Leadership Committee. SLC members have substantial experience working both within GA4GH and in related fields, and will contribute a wide breadth of expertise and a diversity of perspectives to the GA4GH leadership team. 

As part of the GA4GH Council, the Strategic Leadership Committee (SLC) will work closely with the Executive Leadership Committee (ELC) and Product Steering Committee to guide and implement the GA4GH strategic vision to advance responsible use of genomic and related health data.

GA4GH has a strong foundation of active and engaged contributors dedicated to helping GA4GH drive progress towards achieving its goals. A group with deep and long-standing experience with GA4GH, the SLC will amplify these efforts by brainstorming ideas, providing a voice for community needs and concerns, and participating in frequent strategy planning in conjunction with the executive team.

Please find below the list of SLC members, along with brief bios.

We welcome the members of the SLC and are excited to embark upon this collaborative journey to advance the GA4GH strategic vision.

Heidi Rehm
Chair, GA4GH

GA4GH Strategic Leadership Committee Members

Michael Baudis is a Professor of Bioinformatics at the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zürich and is a group leader at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). Cancer genomics is the focal point of his research, with a particular interest in cancer mutational patterns and structural genome variations. Aiming to promote open research data and data standards development, Baudis has been a member of GA4GH since its founding in 2014, currently serving as Co-Lead of the Discovery Work Stream and Product Co-Lead for Beacon.
Tiffany Boughtwood Managing Director of Australian Genomics, has over 25 years of experience in molecular biology and research management. She strongly believes in the potential of genomics and healthcare and has been working to advance its implementation in Australia and internationally. Boughtwood is also a Director of the Childhood Dementia Initiative and a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Advisory Group on Genomics.
Mélanie Courtot, Director and Principal Investigator for Genome Informatics at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), and Assistant Professor at University of Toronto, believes in the benefit of global knowledge sharing and accessible standardised data to advance cancer precision medicine. She develops new software and databases to organise, process, and compute over large and complex datasets generated by research programmes. Courtot is also the Co-Lead of the GA4GH Clinical & Phenotypic Data Capture (Clin/Pheno) Work Stream and Product Co-lead for the Data Use Ontology (DUO).
Robert Freimuth is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Mayo Clinic. His research explores the nexus between medical informatics, bioinformatics, and genomics to develop computational systems and tools to realise the promise of genomics in clinical practice. Freimuth is also the Co-Lead for the GA4GH Genomic Knowledge Standards (GKS) Work Stream.
David Glazer is the Chief Technology Officer for Verily Workbench, a secure research environment for governing and analysing multimodal biomedical data. He is a Principal Investigator for the Data and Research Center, Steering Committee member of the NIH All of Us Research Program, and served on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, co-chairing the AI Working Group. Glazer previously worked at Google, where he founded the Google Genomics team. Prior to joining Google in 2006, he successfully started two companies: Eloquent in 1995 (IPO 2000), which used rich media to power business communications, and Verity in 1988 (IPO 1995), which did full-text search. Glazer is Co-Lead of the GA4GH Cloud Work Stream. 
Oliver Hofmann is a Professor at the University of Melbourne, heading the Genomics Platform Group at the Centre for Cancer Research. His group is working to improve and enhance the scalability and reliability of sequencing workflows, the detection of changes in cancer genomes, and the accessibility of tumour data for real-time research use. Hofmann serves as the Co-Lead of the GA4GH Large-Scale Genomics (LSG) Work Stream, Driver Project Champion for Australian Genomics, and is a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Genomics Australia.
Yann Joly is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Human Genetics and Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy (CGP) at McGill University. With his research appearing in approximately 250 manuscripts, Joly explores the intersection between scientific knowledge, health law, and bioethics. Joly serves as the Co-Lead for the GA4GH Regulatory & Ethics Work Stream (REWS), Driver Project Champion for EpiShare, and Product Co-Lead for both the Clinical Data Sharing and Consent product and the Genetic Discrimination Toolkit.
Augusto Rendon is the Chief Bioinformatician at Genomics England. Working in human genomics since 2008, Rendon has experience driving the integration and implementation of bioinformatics, genome analysis, and data science for whole genome sequencing initiatives at the population scale. He has been a participant of GA4GH since 2014 and is currently the Driver Project Champion for Genomics England.
Serena Scollen is the Head of Human Genomics and Translational Data at ELIXIR. She has experience coordinating at a European scale the development of standards, tools, and workflows for the management of human data, interoperable at a global scale, as well as leading and implementing genetic and precision medicine strategies in the pharmaceutical industry. Scollen is one of the Champions for the Strategic Partnership GA4GH holds with ELIXIR and Driver Project Champion for the European Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project. 
Heidi Sofia is the Program Director of the Division of Genomic Medicine with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with a focus on genomics, data science, and informatics. She was part of the team driving The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), which prompted a greater understanding of cancer genomics and promoted advancements in large-scale genomics, analysis tools, and data sharing. Sofia has been an active participant in GA4GH, since its inception in 2014.

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