UCSF’s Institute for Computational Health Sciences (ICHS), headed by Atul Butte, is the cornerstone of UCSF’s efforts to harness the power of “big data.” ICHS is charged with ensuring that all UCSF faculty, staff and trainees receive sufficient education in computer science technology, giving them the knowledge and understanding to query and analyze quantitative information.

ICHS is also responsible for building the capabilities and infrastructure for collecting, connecting and analyzing research findings and individual health data to help researchers and clinicians glean new insights about biological processes, their impacts on health and disease, and the discovery of effective treatments and cures.

The institute seeks to inspire a culture shift that encourages researchers to think of data as a “recyclable” resource. Information that is painstakingly gathered but doesn’t apply to a top-level finding, or even collected with no specific end-use, may find great value when combined with other data. In addition, data are “renewable,” accessible repeatedly without being altered or used up. ICHS is charged with the task of building tools that can crunch data old and new to find new patterns and insights that ultimately lead to more effective research and to more predictive, preventative, and precise health care.

Current Projects

  • UC Electronic Health Records
    As executive director of clinical informatics for UC Health, Dr. Butte is leading efforts to build computational infrastructure to link electronic health records (EHRs) and other data from the 13.6 million patient records across the five UC medical centers. This initiative will power transformative, data-driven advances in care; accelerate discovery; and improve health for Californians and beyond.
  • High-Performance Computing
    ICHS is integrating cooperative computing facilities dispersed among clusters and within individual faculty research groups. The resulting coordination of infrastructure and capabilities will enable researchers to better acquire, analyze, store and use large data sets.
  • ICHS is developing and will provide educational resources for UCSF trainees, researchers, physicians and staff to access, manage, analyze, and use “big data” such as the integrated EHR, as well as other computational tools and resources.
  • ImmPort
    The Immunology and Data Analysis Portal, a NIAID-funded repository of clinical trial data, aims to integrate relevant data sets and accelerate the pace of discovery.