UAMS Hosts Biomedical Informatics Expert April 4 for Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture

By Yavonda Chase

Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D.

Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D.

Butte will present “Translating a Trillion Points of Data into Therapies, Diagnostics and New Insights into Disease.” The lecture is open to the public and will be held in the Fred W. Smith Auditorium on the 12th floor of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.

Due to limited seating, tickets will be required. Those interested in attending should contact Deborah Taylor in the College of Health Professions Dean’s Office, at (501) 686-5731 or at

The presentation will be broadcast live to two locations on the UAMS campus to allow for overflow seating. No ticket is needed to view the lecture at those locations —the Hamlen Boardroom adjacent to the Fred Smith Auditorium and I. Dodd Wilson Education Building Room 226.

Butte is the inaugural director of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and he holds the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished professorship. He is also the executive director for Clinical Informatics across the six University of California Medical Schools and Medical Centers.

“The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture offers UAMS a wonderful opportunity to invite innovative scientists and thought makers to our campus to speak to our employees and students, as well as our community,” said Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. “I am delighted that Dr. Butte is coming to UAMS.”

D. Micah Hester, Ph.D., chairman of the UAMS committee organizing the presentation, agreed.

“Bioinformatics is central to medical care, public health and disease prevention in the 21st century, he said. “Dr. Butte is a dynamic speaker who has an ability to speak to a wide spectrum of professions and backgrounds, making biomedical informatics understandable and engaging.”

Butte has authored more than 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Wired magazine. In 2013, he was recognized by the Obama administration as an Open Science Champion of Change for promoting science through publicly available data. Butte was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lectures were established in 1972 and endowed by friends of former Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The endowment that funds the lecture program allows five universities in the University of Arkansas system to offer free public lectures that communicate ideas to stimulate public discussion, intellectual debate and cultural advancement.

Past speakers at UAMS include Donald Berwick, M.D., former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.