Dr. Shaywitz is a graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), and received his MD from the Health Sciences and Technology program at Harvard Medical School and MIT, and his PhD from the Department of Biology at MIT.   He trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at MGH, and conducted his post-doctoral research in the Melton lab at Harvard.   He gained experience in early clinical drug development in the Department of Experimental Medicine at Merck, then joined the Boston Consulting Group’s Healthcare and Corporate Development practices, where he focused on strategy and organizational design.   Most recently, he was Senior Director of Strategic and Commercial Planning and Corporate and Business Development at Theravance, a publicly-held drug development company in South San Francisco, where he concentrated on new product development and led a product team.  Currently, he is Chief Medical Officer of Mountain View-based DNAnexus, where he focuses on delivering upon the collaborative, patient-inspired vision of genome-enabled (really, data-enabled) medicine.

Dr. Shaywitz is a co-founder (with Dennis Ausiello) of the Harvard PASTEUR program, a translational research initiative at Harvard Medical School.  He is also a founding advisor of Sage, a non-profit medical research initiative (founded by Eric Schadt and Stephen Friend) emphasizing networks and open innovation (   More recently, he co-founded the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH), a MGH/MIT-based digital health initiative led by Dennis Ausiello, and focused on using improved real-world phenotypic assessment to improve care and advance science.

For the last fifteen years, Dr. Shaywitz has contributed commentaries about medicine, science, strategy, innovation and digital health to a number of popular publications, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalPolitico Pro, and The Financial Times.  He currently is a regular contributor to and

Dr. Shaywitz is an Adjunct Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.  His email is:  david {dot} shaywitz {at} gmail {dot} com.


In medicine, science, and policy, we confront intrinsically difficult challenges — really hard problems.  Our best chance of success comes from removing artificial constraints, maintaining an open mind, and focusing relentlessly and exclusively on building the best teams possible to address the formidable challenges of our era.

I believe (as articulated in this post) that “whether the barrier is an unorthodox career path or a different learning style (see this WSJ review of Outliers, and this WSJ review of The Rare Find), biases of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (see here), a reflexive antipathy towards industry (see here), or the ageism described by [Reuters journalist Sarah] McBride, our ability to succeed and change the world for the better can be limited by our own preconceived notion of what success looks like.”


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