JAX hires first chief data science officer

Paul Flicek

Paul Flicek, D.Sc., joins JAX as its inaugural chief data science officer to build a global data science initiative.

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) has appointed world-class data scientist Paul Flicek, D.Sc., as its inaugural chief data science officer (CDSO). In this new leadership role, Flicek will be responsible for building and executing a comprehensive data science strategy across JAX.

“Dr. Flicek’s contributions to open genomic resources have had a substantial impact on the global scientific community,” said JAX President and CEO Lon Cardon, Ph.D., FMedSci. “I am thrilled that he will lead our global data science efforts and accelerate the organization’s impact on innovative science, research, and development across numerous disease areas by integrating the Laboratory’s immense and robust genetics and genomics datasets not only across the organization, but the globe.”

Flicek will create new data science capabilities for JAX by envisioning and executing strategies to enhance the research and discovery enterprise and building a robust team of data scientists. Additionally, he will extend the large partnership network of scientists around the world who currently work with JAX, as well as manage relationships with external data and analytics partners, including academia, biotech, and pharma.

“I am excited and honored to join The Jackson Laboratory at this pivotal moment. JAX is a world leader in mammalian genetics and possesses some of the most robust life sciences datasets in the world, primarily utilizing its expertise in genetics within the mouse model,” said Flicek. “The Laboratory’s unique combination of mouse genetics, human genomics, and data science methodologies present a fantastic opportunity to integrate and make critical data and insights available to the scientific community.”

Flicek will join JAX this summer from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), where he served as associate director until 2022. He first joined EMBL-EBI as a postdoc in 2005 and was appointed to the faculty in 2007, EMBL senior scientist in 2011, and associate director for EMBL-EBI Services in 2019. Most notably, his team developed the Ensembl genome annotation system and analysis infrastructure, a genome browser and annotation resource that serves tens of thousands of users daily. Flicek is also honorary professor of genomics and computational biology at the University of Cambridge.

Flicek started his career with the sequencing and analysis of the mouse genome and subsequently worked on aspects of genome annotation, comparative regulatory genomics, and large-scale biological data generation projects. He was involved with ENCODE, the 1000 Genomes Project, the International Human Epigenome Consortium, and numerous genome projects. Before that, Flicek completed Master of Science degrees in both biomedical engineering and computer science and a Doctor of Science in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.