ELITE 2020 Leader of the Future Sheila Diamond of Acorn AI by Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company

Sheila Diamond

Scientific Business Development

Acorn AI by Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company

Applying a Clinical Perspective to Data and Technology

When Sheila Diamond, MS, CGC was hired in 2018 by Medidata for a soon-to-be launched company within the life sciences software firm, her background might have been viewed as a bit unconventional. As a board-certified genetic counselor specializing in the interpretation of genetic risk biomarkers of rare diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, her prior experience was more academic and clinical in nature. But as it turns out, that clinical perspective perfectly augments the mission of Acorn AI: To help life sciences companies use clinical trial data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to bring new medical treatments to patients more quickly.

Prior to joining Medidata, Sheila was Director of Outreach and Senior Genetic Counselor at the Genomes2People research program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where her team conducted empirical research on the medical, behavioral, and economic impact of whole genome sequencing in different populations. 

As a recipient of an NIH intramural research training award, Sheila’s post-undergraduate studies at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development focused on behavioral genetics. She then enrolled at the Boston University School of Medicine to pursue her graduate degree in genetic counseling, which not only emphasizes advanced training in medical genetics, but also using this knowledge to compassionately connect with people to inform health outcomes personalized to them.

Now at Medidata, she has the opportunity to apply her specialized clinical training to bridge the gap from bench to bedside in order to facilitate the implementation of advancing health technologies. She leverages her expertise in research settings and applies it to Acorn AI’s mission of getting the most insights out of clinical trials, while keeping the patient perspective at the forefront.

Sheila also heads the Medidata Institute, a forum to cross-pollinate thought leadership between life sciences companies, academic and medical institutions, and patient advocacy groups to improve the lives of patients and spur the next generation of treatments.

“I truly value the differences that make us stronger,” Sheila says. “The greatest advances for patients can be made by leveraging the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and skill sets. Clearly, Medidata shares this mission.”

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