David Searls received undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Life Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Biology from the Johns Hopkins University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia he completed a Master's in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent seven years doing Artificial Intelligence R&D at Unisys Corporation, then co-founded the Computational Biology and Informatics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint faculty appointments in Genetics and Computer and Information Science (where he retains an adjunct appointment). He subsequently spent 13 years at SmithKline Beecham and then GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, where he was Senior Vice-President of Bioinformatics, directing scientists and engineers at six sites worldwide. He left GSK in 2008 and is now an independent consultant. He was a founding Director of the International Society for Computational Biology, and serves on advisory boards for the Protein Databank (PDB), the EMBL-EBI UniProt resource, the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR), and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation. His research interests include the linguistics of biological macromolecules and scientific data integration.