Tech Tonics: Calum MacRae, Reimagining Medicine From Within


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A brilliant cardiologist and geneticist, Dr. Calum McRae rose to the top of academic medicine – then decided to reinvent it, from the inside. He just may be the person to do it.

Born on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland, Calum was the son of a physician, and couldn’t resist the call of medicine himself, attending medical school in Edinburgh, and then pursuing cardiology, as well as a genetics PhD, in London. He continued his scientific training in Boston, with pioneer cardiac geneticists Cricket and Jonathan Seidman; he also repeated his medicine and cardiology training to get certified in the U.S.

Calum thrived in the Harvard ecosystem, and quickly rose to prominence, first at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he did a second postdoc with zebrafish pioneer Mark Fishman, ran the cardiovascular fellowship program; he then became chief of cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Today, he is Vice-Chair for Scientific Innovation at the Brigham and also the recipient of the $75M “One Brave Idea” Award, a five year research grant jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association, Verily, and AstraZeneca.

Calum’s hope is to accelerate medicine by becoming more systematic in the way information is collected and used; he envisions the “learning healthcare system” we’ve all heard so much about, but in his version it is more explicitly linked to getting at the underlying biology, as he discusses on today’s show. It was an honor to interview Calum.

This episode show is sponsored by Medidata the intelligent platform for life sciences that closes the loop between clinical development and commercialization to power smarter treatments and healthier people.

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