Duke Forge Welcomes Rubenstein Fellow Eric Perakslis, PhD

January 28, 2019
Portrait of Duke Rubenstein Fellow Eric Perakslis, PhD
Duke Rubenstein Fellow Eric Perakslis, PhD

Duke University is welcoming a major talent to its ranks as Dr. Eric Perakslis begins a 2-year fellowship sponsored through Duke’s Rubenstein Fellows Academy. A leading national and international voice in the thoughtful application of data science to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes, Perakslis will bring to bear his unique insights, expertise, and experience in the fields of data science, biomedical informatics, and information security.

As a Rubenstein Fellow, Perakslis will develop and lead cross-campus collaborations that span programs as diverse as medicine, public policy, engineering, computer science, and information technology, with the overarching goal of helping to position Duke University as a global leader in data science applications and training. His extraordinary breadth and depth of experience prior to joining Duke—experience that includes transformative roles in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, academia, government service, and international nongovernmental organizations—leaves him well-equipped to strike a needed balance between cultivating a data-rich research and learning environment while at the same time ensuring a deliberate, forward-thinking commitment to data integrity, security, and privacy.

In addition to helping Duke navigate the challenges and opportunities of the data-driven revolution now unfolding, Perakslis will also shape and guide future leaders in the field by serving as a teacher and mentor in undergraduate, graduate-level, and postdoctoral programs that intersect with data science at the university.

As his Fellowship begins in early February, Perakslis will be primarily affiliated with Duke Forge, Duke’s center for actionable health data science. With a portfolio that emphasizes cross-campus explorations and collaborations in data science, the Forge is ideally positioned to serve as a fulcrum and amplifier for Perakslis’ efforts at Duke.


Eric Perakslis, PhD, is a Rubenstein Fellow at Duke University, where his work focuses on collaborative efforts in data science that span medicine, policy, engineering, computer science, information technology, and security, while also contributing to training and mentoring future leaders in the field. Immediately prior to his arrival at Duke, he served as Chief Scientific Advisor at Datavant, Lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, and Strategic Innovation Advisor to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Eric was Senior Vice President and Head of the Takeda R&D Data Science Institute, where he built an integrated institute of more than 165 multi-disciplinary data scientists serving all aspects of biopharmaceutical R&D and digital health. Prior to Takeda, Eric was the Executive Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and the Countway Library of Medicine, an Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program at Boston Children’ Hospital.

During his time at HMS, Eric focused on the approval of the Department of Biomedical Informatics as a full academic department, the development of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network, industry collaborations, leading the technology efforts for multiple Ebola response programs, and building active research programs in medical product development, regulatory science, and cyber security.

Prior to HMS, Eric served as Chief Information Officer and Chief Scientist (Informatics) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this role, Eric authored the first IT Strategic Plan for FDA and was responsible for modernizing and enhancing the IT capabilities as well as in silico scientific capabilities at FDA.

Prior to his time at FDA, Eric was Senior Vice President of R&D Information Technology at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals R&D and member of the Corporate Office of Science and Technology. While at J&J, Eric created and open-sourced the tranSMART clinical data system, which is now being freely used by hundreds of healthcare organizations. During his 13 years at J&J, Eric also held the posts of VP R&D Informatics, VP and Chief Information Officer, Director of Research Information Technology, and Director of Drug Discovery Research. Prior to working at J&J, Eric was the Group leader of Scientific Computing at ArQule Inc.

Eric has served on the editorial board of Cancer Today magazine and as the Associate Editor for Novel Communications for the Journal of Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science. Eric has also served on Science and Technology Advisory Committees and in leadership roles for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, NuMedii, Precision for Medicine, the Survivor Advisory Board at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Kidney Cancer Association, OneMind4Research, and the Scientist - Survivor program of the American Association for Cancer Research. Internationally, Eric has served as the Chief Information Officer of the King Hussein Institute for Biotechnology and Cancer in Amman, Jordan.

Eric has a PhD in chemical and biochemical engineering from Drexel University. He also holds BSChE and MS degrees in chemical engineering.