Translating a Trillion Points of Data into Therapies, Diagnostics, and New Insights into Disease
Atul Butte, MD, PhD
Director, Institute for Computational Health Sciences and Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco
Executive Director for Clinical Informatics, University of California Health Sciences and Services
ABSTRACT: There is an urgent need to take what we have learned in our new “genome era” and use it to create a new system of precision medicine, delivering the best preventative or therapeutic intervention at the right time, for the right patients. Dr. Butte‘s lab at the University of California, San Francisco builds and applies tools that convert trillions of points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data — measured by researchers and clinicians over the past decade and now commonly termed “big data” — into diagnostics, therapeutics, and new insights into disease. Several of these methods or findings have been spun out into new biotechnology companies. Dr. Butte, a computer scientist and pediatrician, will highlight his lab’s recent work, including the use of publicly-available molecular measurements to find new uses for drugs including new therapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer, discovering new druggable targets in disease, the evaluation of patients and populations presenting with whole genomes sequenced, integrating and reusing the clinical and genomic data that result from clinical trials, discovering new diagnostics include blood tests for complications during pregnancy, and how the next generation of biotech companies might even start in your garage.
BIOGRAPHY: Atul Butte, MD, PhD is the inaugural Director of the Institute of Computational Health Sciences (ICHS) at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Butte is also the Executive Director for Clinical Informatics across the six University of California Medical Schools and Medical Centers. Dr. Butte trained in Computer Science at Brown University, worked as a software engineer at Apple and Microsoft, received his MD at Brown University, trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston, then received his PhD from Harvard Medical School and MIT. Dr. Butte has authored nearly 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in Wired Magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, Dr. Butte was recognized by the White House as an Open Science Champion of Change for promoting science through publicly available data. Other recent awards include election into the Institute of Medicine in 2015 (now known as the National Academy of Medicine), the 2014 E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, 2013 induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the 2012 FierceBiotech IT “Top 10 Biotech Techies”, and the 2011 National Human Genome Research Institute Genomic Advance of the Month. Dr. Butte is also a founder of three investor-backed data-driven companies: Personalis, providing clinical interpretation of whole genome sequences, Carmenta (acquired by Progenity), discovering diagnostics for pregnancy complications, and NuMedii, finding new uses for drugs through open molecular data. Dr. Butte is also the principal investigator of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, and the principal investigator for ImmPort, the clinical and molecular data repository for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.