Tan’s experience leading Microsoft’s health and life science R&D portfolio programs and creating high-value AI-based healthcare solutions will help guide 1910 Genetics as it advances AI-driven therapeutic development
1910 Genetics, a biotechnology company integrating artificial intelligence (AI), computation and biological automation to improve drug development, today announced that it has appointed Desney Tan, Vice President and Managing Director of Microsoft Health Futures, to the company’s Board of Directors. With experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning and genomics, Tan brings the board a unique perspective on the benefits and opportunities of combining biomedical technologies with life sciences.
“It is rare to find a board member who has direct experience and success in bringing together biomedical technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, with life sciences to help solve healthcare’s biggest issues,” said Jen Nwankwo, Ph.D., 1910 Genetics’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Desney’s experience, not only with Microsoft, but with advising startups and as an angel investor, brings an indispensable viewpoint to our board and the extended team. I am looking forward to the breadth of experience he is bringing to our board.”
Tan has been a part of Microsoft for almost two decades, leading multiple global teams, including the human-computer interaction group, the medical devices group and Microsoft Healthcare. As the leader of Microsoft Health Futures, he is responsible for the company’s cross-organizational health and life sciences “moonshot” factory. The Microsoft Health Futures portfolio includes programs in biomedical technologies, life sciences, as well as multiple application areas, such as population health and global health access.
In addition to his role at Microsoft, Tan holds an affiliate faculty appointment in the department of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. He also serves on the Board of Directors for ResMed, a pioneer in life-changing products and solutions that help people breathe and sleep better, and advises several startup companies.
Tan was named one of MIT Technology Review’s 2007 Young Innovators Under 35 for his work on brain-computer interfaces and a 2012-2014 Kavli Fellow by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was also honored as one of SciFi Channel’s Young Visionaries at TED 2009, as well as Forbes’ Revolutionaries: Radical Thinkers and their World-Changing Ideas for his work on whole body computing.
“1910 Genetics represents the natural convergence of technical and scientific disciplines that could transform drug discovery and development,” Tan said. “Ultimately, this could facilitate better care for everyone, including people who are currently underserved by the healthcare system. I can think of no greater way for technology to catalyze positive human impact.”
Tan holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He served as technical program chair for The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in 2008, as well as general chair for CHI 2011. He sits on multiple journal editorial boards and was previously editor-in-chief for Foundations and Trends in HCI, as well as the Springer HCI Series. He also served as a lieutenant in the Singapore Armed Services, where he was awarded a Sword of Merit.