Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the San Francisco CDAO Community

Qinghua Song

Head of Data and Statistical Science - Kite Pharma

Gilead Sciences

Qinghua currently serves as the Head of Data and Statistical Science at Kite Pharma, a Gilead Company. This is a group of data scientists and statisticians who provide advanced statistical methods, programming and modeling and simulation for clinical studies, translational research, real world evidence generation and data dashboards. Qinghua  provides strategic and tactical direction for the group’s activities for all projects including statistics, programming, data governance and management and support for publication.

Learn more about leaders in the San Francisco CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

During my schooling, I was trained in Biostatistics, a discipline concerned with the improvement of human health through the application and advancement of statistical science. Working at some of the world's top biopharma companies (such as Merck and Genentech) made me realize that this is a great field to use my number-crunching skills and analytical mind-set to help bring life-changing treatments to market and to save patients' lives.  

Working at Gilead and Kite Pharma gives me the opportunity to build and develop a group of data and statistical scientists in multiple areas across clinical stages (pre, early, late and post) and to promote data science and machine learning in healthcare.

What are your guiding leadership principles?

To be a combination of “transactional leader” and “transformational leader.” I aim to ensure that regulatory policies, industry standards and timelines are being met and that people are delivering high quality data and results on time, all while encouraging innovative thinking, stimulating positive changes and rewarding inventions.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CDAO going in the next 1-2 years?

Data leaders should continue to work with experts in their company and throughout their industry to understand how to use cutting edge methods and advanced techniques to improve efficiencies. This is especially pertinent to my industry as the clinical trial transforms into a more patient-centric, decentralized, dynamic, data-centric, AI-powered activity.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CDAO?

Give direct feedback about performance and ask for feedback on your leadership - direct, honest feedback. Even if it’s criticism, it is the best way to guide your team and yourself in the right direction.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I am a proud dog dad to a 9 year old white miniature Schnauzer.
  2. I have lived in three big cities in the US - New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I lived in each for more than 3 years, and I still enjoy city life.
  3. I am taking a trip to Antarctica in February 2023.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

The Evanta community provides a truly inspiring and highly engaging environment for CDAOs and data science leaders from various industries to connect, communicate, learn from each other and exchange ideas. Being part of the Evanta community helps me to learn, grow, share and contribute in the data science community and industry.


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