Alexa T. McCray, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School & Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Alexa McCray is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a faculty in the Department of Medicine. Her research focuses on biomedical knowledge representation and discovery, addressing the significant problems in curating, disseminating, and exchanging scientific and clinical information in biomedicine and health. At Harvard, she has developed an autism-specific phenotype ontology to provide easy access to the clinical, behavioral, and genotypic data collected from individuals affected by autism. The ontology is currently used by the National Institute of Mental Health Data Archive (NDA), an informatics platform that facilitates data sharing across all mental health. She was also a co-investigator in the Harvard Catalyst program, an NIH-sponsored CTSA effort with semantic integration as one of its goals across multiple and diverse resources. She is currently a Principal Investigator of a grant from the National Institutes of Health, whose goal is to establish a national network that promotes sharing data and best practices for diagnosing undiagnosed conditions. For many years, she was the PI of an NIH-funded Biomedical Informatics Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. She is a consistent and strong proponent of open science for the public good. Research activities have focused on approaches and methods for ensuring that scientific knowledge is accessible to all. She chaired an eighteen-month consensus study of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report, Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research was published in July 2018. She is currently the faculty chair of an HMS committee focused on research culture in the context of HMS efforts addressing research rigor, reproducibility, and responsibility. She serves in several leadership roles at the Medical School and is engaged in scientific activities at the national and international levels.