Biography du jour

Below is my biography for the 2016 Philly Geek Awards, where I was a finalist for Scientist of the Year. While I lost to Stephan Grupp, my biography lives on below:

Daniel Himmelstein is a data scientist who teaches computers about human disease. Last November while atop a tidal island in France, Daniel announced, on YouTube, his plans to move from San Francisco to Philadelphia. His passion for open science and hetnets led him to the University of Pennsylvania. After self-curating a graduation exhibit on his PhD, Daniel arrived to Philly in June.

That month, Daniel launched Cognoma in collaboration with the DataPhilly and Code for Philly meetups. This project puts machine learning in the hands of cancer biologists. Moreover, it's a citizen-science project that insists every contributor learns something new. Hundreds of Philadelphians have attended Cognoma meetups with 56+ involved on GitHub.

Daniel also pioneered the field of hetnets — a term he coined in biology for networks with many types of relationships. In July, he released Hetionet — a hetnet that integrates the collective knowledge produced by millions of studies over the last half century — and is applying it to predict new uses for existing drugs. Nature covered his data licensing struggles to make this resource publicly reusable. Daniel's purpose is to make science entirely open for geeks everywhere to enjoy.


I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Greene Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Before, I received my PhD in Biological & Medical Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco in the Baranzini Lab. As an undergraduate, I majored in biostatistics at Cornell University and researched at Princeton University and Dartmouth Medical School over the summer.


My email is For easy encryption of your message (optional), see KeyBase. For support questions or feedback on my research, please first consider public venues — such as GitHub Issues — before emailing me.