Packard Children’s/Stanford Bioinformatics Leader Honored by White House

Atul Butte highlighted as an Open Science “Champion of Change”

For Release: June 20, 2013

Washington, DC - In a significant recognition from the White House on June 20, pediatrician-scientist Atul Butte, MD, PhD of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the Stanford School of Medicine was honored as one of thirteen Open Science “Champions of Change.”

The White House Champions of Change program recognizes leaders who are promoting and using open scientific data and publications to accelerate progress and improve the world. Scientists such as Butte lead initiatives that help make “open” the default in scientific research. 

"I’m absolutely thrilled that the White House is recognizing the importance of data-driven science,” said Butte, chief of the division of systems medicine at Packard Children’s and the School of Medicine. “It’s a wonderful acknowledgement that publicly available open data, ranging from molecular measurements to indicators of clinical costs and care, can really be used to launch innovations in bioscience and medical practice." 

Butte’s lab at Stanford builds and uses computational tools that convert more than 400 trillion points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data – measured by researchers and clinicians over the past decade and now increasingly publicly available – into diagnostics, therapeutics, and new insights into disease.

Open sharing of research results is a proven strategy for driving positive change. For example, the rapid and open sharing of genomic data from the Human Genome Project revolutionized biomedical research, and spurred major growth in the biotechnology industry. Additionally the Federal Government’s liberation of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data for use by the private sector led to an explosion of geospatial information systems and the creation of many companies, smartphone apps, and car navigation systems.

The White House Champions of Change program was created as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Through this program, the White House highlights individuals, businesses, and organizations whose extraordinary stories and accomplishments positively impact our communities.


Robert Dicks

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