At the start of their work together, Dr. Paul Wise and Dr. Atul Butte were both dissatisfied with current classification schemes of disease. Dr. Wise believed that the current debate between genetic and environmental causes of disease was an artificial distinction, but one that was necessary to make for public policy purposes. Dr. Butte simultaneously realized that current disease classifications were nearly a hundred years old and that they were only slightly updated to take advantage of genomics and bioinformatics discoveries.
The pair received pilot funding through the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (SCBE), which is in turn funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), to build a master map of known gene-environment-disease relations and to study the graphical properties of this map. Initial findings from this pilot work have shown that searching for disease, gene and environmental hubs in this map will enable new discoveries of the shared etiology of disease and new thinking about the nature of gene-environmental interactions in disease, both of which relate to public policy initiatives.
Butte A.J. and I.S. Kohane. Creation and implications of a phenome-genome network. Nat Biotechnol, 2006. 24(1):55-62.
Liu Y.I., Wise P.H. and A.J. Butte. The "etiome": identification and clustering of human disease etiological factors. BMC Bioinformatics, 2009. 10(Suppl 2):S14.
Atul Butte, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Informatics) and of Pediatrics and, by courtesy, of Computer Science
Paul Wise, MD, MPH
Richard E. Behrman Professor in Child Health and Professor, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy