Foresite Labs Appoints Mary Helen Black, Former Johnson & Johnson Department Head, to Vice President and Head of Human Genomics

Black will strengthen the leadership team to support the company’s clinical and data operations

SAN FRANCISCO & BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Foresite Labs is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Helen Black as its new vice president and head of genomics. She will focus on leading her team to generate evidence and insights from large-scale clinical and genomic data to support new and early ventures. Created in 2019, Foresite Labs’ mission is to found, build and scale life sciences initiatives at the intersection of healthcare and data science.

Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Black was the head of Population Analytics, Computational Sciences, at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. In this role, she led the Johnson & Johnson partnership with UK Biobank and other major pharmaceutical companies to perform whole genome sequencing in half a million individuals and generate proteomics on more than 50,000 individuals in the UK. This dataset represents the world’s largest single release of whole genome sequencing data. The insights she led continue to be used to drive therapeutic development and inform clinical trial design.

Black was also previously a director and research scientist for Ambry Genetics and Kaiser Permanente from which she has experience investigating common metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and women’s health, combined with a background in clinical genomics and drug discovery and development. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Philosophy from Saint Mary’s College in California, an M.S. in Biostatistics from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology from the University of Southern California and also taught biostatistics at California State University, Los Angeles for 8 years as an adjunct professor.

“Mary Helen is an accomplished scientist and leader who has made seminal contributions in the use of human genetics in discovery and clinical research,” said Dr. Vikram Bajaj, CEO of Foresite Labs. “In particular, the understanding of the genetic and environmental determinants of common disease she brings to Rick Dewey’s team will be valuable for the early ventures we are building in those areas.”

Black will lead Foresite Labs’ efforts to support the development and testing of scientific ideas at the core of new company creation. Her focus will include enabling the Foresite Labs platform to apply large scale human genomics to various problems in healthcare – from therapeutics to healthcare delivery – as well as managing genomics discovery activities for target-indication selection, precision clinical development, and precision implementation.

“After conducting genomics research for nearly two decades spanning academic, health care, clinical diagnostics, and pharmaceutical industries, I’m excited to bring this experience to Foresite Labs,” said Mary Helen Black. “I look forward to supporting our portfolio companies with the critical insights and data analyses they need to drive success and redefine healthcare as we know it.”

Mary Helen Black’s appointment to the Foresite Labs leadership team follows the appointment of Uplaksh Kumar as the company’s COO and Foresite Capital’s latest announcement of $173 million raised to invest in Foresite Labs-funded companies.

About Foresite Labs

Foresite Labs is a center for entrepreneurial innovation at the nexus of data science and healthcare. Based in San Francisco and Boston, Foresite Labs partners with next-generation healthcare entrepreneurs to launch life sciences and healthcare companies that use the tools of data science to solve our greatest unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit


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