Zuckerberg and Chan donate $10 million to UCSF for big-data projects
Big data just got a massive shot in the arm. Power couple Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan donated $10 million to the University of California at San Francisco’s Institute of Computational Health Sciences to fund big data projects.
The donation will be used to pay for new faculty hires and informatics projects, including an initiative to unite 15 million patients’ health-records data from across five University of California medical campuses into a single database—a project that reflects the trend in healthcare toward analyzing massive amounts of data for population health and imaging insights.
At the helm of the institute is Dr. Atul Butte, who was just named the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg distinguished professor at the university. His work involves what he’s termed “data recycling,” a big-data research tactic that involves mining publicly available data for health and medical information rather than relying on the more conventional approach to clinical research of recruiting new patients to study.
“The data are an incredible resource for UC hospitals to improve the quality of care we deliver throughout California,” Butte said in a statement.
Using existing data, Butte and his lab colleagues already have found that a drug first approved to kill parasitic worms could be used to treat liver cancer. They’ve also come up with a way to mine data to predict outcomes of cancer treatments.
Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan donated big to UCSF.