Precisely Practicing Medicine from 700 Trillion Points of Data (Video Available)

Speaker: Atul Butte, MD, PhD, at University of California Health System

Date: February 22, 2021 at 4:00PM - 5:30PM

There is an urgent need to take what we have learned in our new data-driven era of medicine, and use it to create a new system of precision medicine, delivering the best, safest, cost-effective 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.  Dr. Butte, a computer scientist and pediatrician, will highlight his center’s recent work on integrating electronic health records data across the entire University of California, and how analytics on this “real world data” can lead to new evidence for drug efficacy, new savings from better medication choices, and new methods to teach intelligence – real and artificial – to more precisely practice medicine. 

Atul Butte, MD, PhD is the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor and inaugural Director of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute ( at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Butte is also the Chief Data Scientist for the entire University of California Health System, with 20 health professional schools, 6 medical schools, 5 academic medical centers, 10 hospitals, and over 1000 care delivery sites. Dr. Butte has been continually funded by NIH for 20 years, is an inventor on 24 patents, and has authored over 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Wired Magazine. Dr. Butte was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015, and in 2013, he was recognized by the Obama Administration as a White House Champion of Change in Open Science for promoting science through publicly available data. Dr. Butte is also a founder of three investor-backed data-driven companies: Personalis (IPO, 2019), providing medical genome sequencing services, Carmenta (acquired by Progenity, 2015), discovering diagnostics for pregnancy complications, and NuMedii, finding new uses for drugs through open molecular data. 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.



Diossy M, Sztupinszki Z, Borcsok J, Krzystanek M, Tisza V, Spisak S, Rusz O, Timar J, Csabai I, Fillinger J, Moldvay J, Pedersen AG, Szuts D, Szallasi Z. A subset of lung cancer cases shows robust signs of homologous recombination deficiency associated genomic mutational signatures. NPJ precision oncology 2021.

Abman SH, Mullen MP, Sleeper LA, Austin ED, Rosenzweig EB, Kinsella JP, Ivy D, Hopper RK, Usha Raj J, Fineman J, Keller RL, Bates A, Krishnan US, Avitabile CM, Davidson A, Natter MD, Mandl KD, . Characterisation of Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertensive Vascular Disease from the PPHNet Registry. The European respiratory journal 2021.

Lu FS, Nguyen AT, Link NB, Molina M, Davis JT, Chinazzi M, Xiong X, Vespignani A, Lipsitch M, Santillana M. Estimating the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 in the United States using influenza surveillance, virologic testing, and mortality data: Four complementary approaches. PLoS computational biology 2021.

Aiken EL, Nguyen AT, Viboud C, Santillana M. Toward the use of neural networks for influenza prediction at multiple spatial resolutions. Science advances 2021.