January 15, 2015 | UC San Francisco announced this morning that it has recruited Atul Butte to lead the new Institute for Computational Health Sciences, an Institute the University says will serve at the cornerstone of its efforts to harness the power of big data for precision medicine. He's also been named executive director of clinical informatics for UC Health Sciences and Services.
The institute, which launched under interim directors Neil Risch, PhD, and Michael Fischbach, PhD, with seed funding from the Chancellor’s office so it could co-recruit its first faculty members with other UCSF departments, will serve as a campus hub for computer scientists and for researchers who use big data and computation as critical tools in biomedical research and practice, while also serving as an educational center to train future leaders in the field, the UCSF said in a statement.
“The idea is to build a fully inclusive institute that reflects and harnesses what’s happening in all of the schools at UCSF,” Butte said in the statement. “Of course we hope that we will be successful in making discoveries and developing diagnostics and therapeutics, which we will disseminate through publications. But we also intend to take these discoveries out of the laboratories through licensing and starting companies, when we need to.
“We especially want to take advantage of the entrepreneur spirit growing in Mission Bay,” he continued. “If we want to change the world of medicine, we have to bring those discoveries into the marketplace and closer to patients.”
Editor's note: Butte is speaking on Tuesday, February 17, in the Cancer Molecular Markers track at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference. www.triconference.com