Pfizer/ASA/Columbia University Symposium on Risks and Opportunities of AI in Clinical Drug Development

Date of event: 
October 30, 2020 - 7:30am - 5:00pm
Columbia University, New York, New York

The Pfizer/ASA/Columbia University Symposium on Risks and Opportunities of AI in Clinical Drug Development is an event jointly sponsored by Pfizer Inc., the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Statistics Department and Data Science Institute at Columbia University.

Our world increasingly relies on data and computing to create knowledge, to make critical decisions, and to better predict the future. Data science has emerged to support these data-driven activities by integrating and developing ideas, concepts, and tools from computer science, engineering, information science, statistics, and domain fields. Data science now drives fields as diverse as biology, astronomy, material science, political science, and medicine—not to mention vast tracts of the global economy, key government activities, and quotidian social and societal functions.

The pharmaceutical enterprise has been slower to respond, especially to the rapid developments in AI, but tectonic shifts are underway in approaches to the discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring, and marketing of medicines for the benefit of patients and the health of the community.

While there is much discussion about the potential of AI and modern machine learning tools to transform the drug development paradigm, there is a growing recognition of the paucity of research about the inevitable pitfalls and unintended consequences of the digital revolution in this important area of application. As we move toward personalized and truly evidence-based medicine, the use of AI and machine learning to optimize drug deployment raises a whole different set of challenges.

This forum is, therefore, expected to serve as a platform for distinguished statisticians, data scientists, regulators, and other professionals to address the challenges and opportunities of AI in pharmaceutical medicine; to foster collaboration among industry, academia, regulatory agencies, and professional associations; and to propose recommendations with policy implications for proper implementation of AI in promoting public health.

Featured Speakers:

Dr. Amy P. Abernethy
United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA)
Dr. Amy P. Abernethy is Principal Deputy Commissioner of the US FDA, where she oversees the agency’s day-to-day functioning and directs special and high-priority initiatives.  Prior to joining the FDA, Abernethy was chief medical officer, chief scientific officer and senior vice president of oncology for Flatiron Health. Earlier, she was a professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine.

Mihaela van der Schaar PhD
John Humphrey Plummer Professor, University of Cambridge
Professor van der Schaar is John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Turing Faculty Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute in London. She was elected IEEE Fellow (2009) and has received numerous awards, including the Oon Prize on Preventative Medicine from the University of Cambridge (2018).  She holds 35 granted USA patents.  In 2019, she was identified by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts as the female researcher based in the UK with the most publications in the field of AI. 

Symposium Program

Registration Fees
Regular - $150
Student - $0

Registration is all-inclusive; breakfast and lunch will be served.

Register Online

PDF Registration Form

Questions may be emailed to

This symposium was made possible with the generous support of Pfizer Inc., Columbia University, and the American Statistical Association.