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8: The Language of Digital Biology

Day Zero

8: The Language of Digital Biology

This episode is hosted by Day Zero advisory council member Suchi Saria, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Bayesian Health. Dr. Saria speaks with Daphne Koller, Founder and CEO, insitro. The conversation…
December 14, 2021

8: The Language of Digital Biology

Meet Daphne Koller, Ph.D.:

Daphne Koller, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of insitro, a company that aims to improve drug discovery and development through machine learning. She is also a co-founder and board member for Engageli. Previously, Dr. Koller co-founded Coursera and served as the co-CEO, President, and eventually co-Chairman. She was also the Chief Computing Officer for CalicoLabs. Dr. Koller earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University and taught there as a professor for 18 years. 

Key Insights:

Dr. Koller is “bilingual” in the worlds of biomedicine and machine learning. She has had a diverse career in academia, industry, and entrepreneurism.

  • Two Worlds. At insitro, Dr. Koller brings together the two worlds of machine learning and biomedicine. Machine learning understands the capabilities of what data can provide, and biomedicine understands the insights that can be extracted. Working together can not only solve problems, but reveal new questions. (7:27)
  • Science as a Team Sport. Dr. Koller contrasts academia’s focus on the individual researcher with industry’s focus on organizational growth and teamwork. She emphasizes the importance of releasing one’s ego and creating a whole that is larger than the sum of the parts. (22:16)
  • The Right Team. It is important for founders to build the right team around them. The executive leadership needs to have the ability to strategize and shape the vision, as well as be equipped with industry expertise. From day one, be deliberate about culture and creating alignment. (25:03)

This episode is hosted by Suchi Saria, Ph.D. She is a member of the Advisory Council for Day Zero and is the founder and CEO of Bayesian Health. She is also an Associate Professor of computer science, statistics, and health policy, and the Director of the Machine Learning and Healthcare Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

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