Professional Experience

Chris Dwan is an independent consultant, technologist, and leader in scientific computing and data architecture for the life sciences. He works with universities, research institutes, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and the government.

From 2014 to 2017 Dwan directed the research computing team at the Broad Institute.  He was instrumental in the development of Broad’s program in data sciences, as well as its transition from on-premise to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.  He served as Acting Director for all of Broad IT during the yearlong search for a new CIO.

Chris was the first technologist at the New York Genome Center, from its inception in 2011 through 2014. He architected, designed, and built all of the computing, data storage, and network infrastructure for NYGC, including substantial renovations to its Manhattan headquarters. In this role he reported to the executive director and presented regularly to the board of directors.

Chris was the first full time employee of the Boston based consulting firm, BioTeam.  Between 2004 and 2011 he designed and deployed solutions for hundreds of customers, who were at all stages of adopting and leveraging technology for genomic science.  By the end of his tenure, he was also managing the entire consulting team and serving on the Board of Directors for the company.

Chris’s academic background is in computer science, with a specialization in machine learning / artificial intelligence.

Example Engagements

Tactical Leadership:  Dwan brings substantial experience and capability, with an unusual mix of expertise that cuts across science, IT, and business.  He can support the leadership of a fledgling company not yet ready for a full time CTO/CIO/CDO; step in to provide continuity during a leadership transition in research computing, informatics, or data science; or even mentor developing technologists to prepare them for their next step within an organization.

Technical assessment: When the situation and needs are unclear, a focused, bounded engagement is usually best.  The work begins with discovery conversations, proceeds through collaborative refinement of draft analyses, and completes with a readout of a concise report.  The report centers on actionable recommendations that are built on a shared understanding of the situation.

Solutions Architecture / Engineering Support:  When the goal of the work is to install, improve, or decommission a particular system or technical capability, a project management approach is usually best. Examples include migrating informatics capabilities to a public cloud, developing and implementing a data lifecycle, or augmenting an existing analytic framework with machine/deep learning.

Dwan works with his clients to gather requirements and critical organizational context, including scientific, business, and operational drivers. Based on those requirements, he authors a high level initial system architecture. The architecture will be a living document, iteratively refined throughout the project. If support is needed from external vendors and partners, Chris will author requests for proposals, evaluate quotes, and support decision making.  Once the partners are in place, Dwan can coordinate the build, burn-in, commissioning, and operational transition to the new system. In many cases, the engagement includes writing run-books, system documentation, and implementing monitoring/maintenance procedures to ensure successful ongoing operations.