Atul Butte, MD, PhD

Chief, Division of Systems Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University and Principal Investigator, Varimed

Atul Butte, MD, PhD is Chief of the Division of Systems Medicine and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and by courtesy, Computer Science, at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. 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 in Health Sciences and Technology from Harvard Medical School and MIT.

The Butte Laboratory builds and applies tools that convert more than 300 billion points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data — measured by researchers and clinicians over the past decade — into diagnostics, therapeutics, and new insights into disease. Examples of this method includes work on cancer drug discovery published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2000), on type 2 diabetes published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2003), on fat cell formation published in Nature Cell Biology (2005), on obesity in Bioinformatics (2007), and in transplantation published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2009). To facilitate this, the Butte Lab has developed tools to automatically index and find genomic data sets based on the phenotypic and contextual details of each experiment, published in Nature Biotechnology (2006), to re-map microarray data, published in Nature Methods (2007), to deconvolve multi-cellular samples, published in Nature Methods (2010), and to perform these calculations on the internet “cloud”, as published in Nature Biotechnology (2010). The Butte Lab has used these tools on publicly available molecular data to successfully find new uses for existing drugs, as published in back-to-back papers in Science Translational Medicine (2011). The Butte Lab has also been developing novel methods in comparing clinical data from electronic health record systems with gene expression data, as described in Science (2008), and was part of the team performing the first clinical annotation of a patient presenting with a whole genome, as described in the Lancet (2010). The Butte Laboratory currently has been funded by HHMI and under sixteen NIH grants.