Pediatrician Atul Butte:
Computing New Understandings of Disease
Butte Computes Disease
Pediatrician Butte studies genes to find new uses for existing medicines
Science of classifying diseases
Categorizes diseases by symptoms and anatomy
Can different diseases have similarities?
Photo: Steve Gladfelter
Diseases with different symptoms can have similarities
Diseases with different symptoms may affect the same body system
Diseases affecting different body systems can have the same symptoms
Some different diseases are very similar at the level of genes
A Genomic Surprise
Butte's discovery: Heart attack and muscular dystrophy alter the activity of the same group of genes.
Old Models of Classification
Published in 1909
Contains codes for common causes of death
Traditional Model of Medical Research
Study what happens to
1. Understanding about how one disease affects the activity of one biological process
Understanding about the activity of genes across diseases
Connections between different diseases at the genetic level
Possibility of using existing medicines for one disease to treat another disease
Measure activity of all genes in
the human genome
Find gene activity overlap to
Research Tools: Microarrays
Also called "DNA chip" and "gene chip"
Contains pieces of DNA representing every gene in the genome
The Power of GEO
Genome Expression Omnibus
Repository for results of studies using microarrays
1,000 samples uploaded weekly
Can be used for bioinformatics experiments
Photo: Melissa Li
Advances in Disease Research
The amount of life-science data
A genome-based disease classification system
How are these useful to scientists studying disease?
What challenges does this create?
How is this different from current disease classification systems?
What are some implications of using existing medications to treat diseases other than those they initially were developed to treat?