Mark Bolgiano is a data scientist and the chief enterprise architect and strategist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a nonprofit medical research organization that ranks as one of the nation’s largest philanthropies. HHMI plays a powerful role in advancing biomedical research and science education in the United States. The Institute spent $776 million for research and distributed $89 million in grant support for science education in fiscal year 2009.
Before joining HHMI in December 2010, Mark served as President and CEO of XBRL US, the national consortium for XML business reporting standards, and started XBRL Labs, a research and innovation center focused on XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), an open-source, royalty-free language being adopted globally to provide transparency and global access to the documents and data that drive markets, regulation, and business information sharing. In the first two years of operation, XBRL US assembled a small but effective team and successfully crowd-sourced the development of a dictionary of 15,000 digital “tags” for documents compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); these tags are now required by SEC rules for regulatory compliance, and the data is now flowing to the public through the SEC EDGAR system.
His 2009 testimony to the House Oversight Committee on the use of technology innovation for universal access and greater transparency was instrumental in expanding the use of XBRL beyond accounting standards and capital markets to the policy, legal, and government domains. His vision – of documents being the “first mile” delivered to the public as free, universally accessible, structured data in the “last mile” – is becoming a reality.
Mark’s career is rooted in the life sciences, with graduate research in the genetics and microbiology of nitrogen fixation – or “protein from thin air”. As part of his research, he developed software for statistics and data analysis and found himself moving on a path from “biotech” to “infotech” research and innovation. After twenty-five years as a chief technologist/CIO in Washington for independent, non-profit organizations bridging the private and public sectors, (including MD-IPA/United Health, The Board of Trade, and the Council on Foundations), he is very excited to return to science, focused on the use of technology to support science education and breakthrough research.
He shares a passion with many who are working to improve our quality of life and economic security through advances in genomics, molecular biology, and nanotechnology, and is helping define the new field of data science: harmonizing, visualizing, and interpreting today’s information explosion.