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National Library of Medicine Employee, Grantee Receive White House “Open Science” Champions of Change Awards

NCBI Director Dr. David Lipman, Stanford University's Dr. Atul Butte Honored

Dr. David J. Lipman, director of NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and Dr. Atul Butte of Stanford University, an NLM grantee, are among those to be honored today at a White House ceremony for recipients of the prestigious Champions of Change awards in the "Open Science" category. They have been recognized for their outstanding work in "promoting and using open scientific data and publications to accelerate progress and improve our world."

"Dr. Lipman and Dr. Butte are both highly deserving of this prestigious award," said NLM Director Dr. Donald Lindberg. "Dr. Lipman has been a tremendous-and irresistible-force in making biomedical data and information publicly and easily available. At the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Butte has been a pioneer and innovator in exploiting huge quantities of electronic data and information to make discoveries and improve health care."

In his 24 years as the founding director of NCBI, Dr. David Lipman has played a major role in expanding public access to scientific data and biomedical literature. A strong advocate of open exchange of genomic data, he led efforts  to streamline submission, curation, and international exchange of genetic sequence data with Europe and Japan, expanding GenBank to become the world's largest public database of DNA data, with more than 250 million sequences. Under his leadership, NCBI has built upon GenBank with the development of more than 40 interlinked genomic and bibliographic databases freely available on the Web, making many innovations in data standards, data submission, and curation along the way. With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, Dr. Lipman directed the creation of PubMed, which pioneered the efficient linking of NLM's authoritative MEDLINE® (See this Description of the Database) journal references and abstracts to the full-text of  articles on publishers websites. When broad access to the Internet enabled NLM to cease charging for MEDLINE access in 1997, PubMed became the international vehicle for free public access to now more than 22 million authoritative biomedical journal references, many with abstracts. In 2000, through innovative arrangements with publishers, Dr. Lipman introduced PubMed Central (PMC) to provide free permanent electronic access to the full text of articles from participating journals, with rich links to related scientific data. PMC provided the essential infrastructure for the NIH Public Access Policy, which since 2008 has made published NIH-funded research available to the public. Together, information services directed by Dr. Lipman are used by more than three million people each day. He has also been a pioneer in making electronic data accessible to external system developers through bulk download and robust applications programming interfaces (APIs).

"I am truly honored that the White House has recognized our work in providing resources such as NCBI's GenBank database of all publicly available DNA sequences and PubMed Central, an online archive of peer-reviewed biomedical sciences literature," said Dr. Lipman. "The success of these databases and NCBI's many other resources is a reflection of the hard work, dedication and talent of all those working at NCBI and a testament to the vision and leadership at NLM and NIH."

David Lipman received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his MD from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

Atul Butte is chief of the Division of Systems Medicine and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and, by courtesy, Computer Science, at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The Butte Laboratory at Stanford builds and uses computational tools that convert more than 400 trillion points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data-measured by researchers and clinicians over the past decade and now increasingly publicly available-into diagnostics, therapeutics, and new insights into disease. In addition to creating new diagnostics and drugs for diabetes and cancers and stewarding the release of National Institutes of Health (NIH) immunology data to the public, Dr. Butte is a founder of Personalis, providing clinical interpretation of whole genome sequences, Carmenta, discovering diagnostics for life-threatening conditions in pregnancy from public data, and NuMedii, using public big data to find new uses for drugs.

He received his MD at Brown University, trained in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology at Children's Hospital Boston, then received his PhD in Health Sciences and Technology from Harvard Medical School and MIT. Dr. Butte is a former trainee at NLM's Biomedical Informatics Training Program at Harvard Medical School and MIT. He is currently the PI on NLM grant 5R01LM009719-04. (Atul J. Butte, MD, PhD, Integrating Microarray and Proteomic Data by Ontology-based Annotation, 5R01LM009719-04, Stanford University.)

White House press release on "Open Science" Champions of Change Awards:


The National Library of Medicine (NLM)(// is the world's largest library of the health sciences and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (// NLM collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals, and the public.

 NCBI Director Dr. David Lipman

 NCBI Director Dr. David Lipman


 NLM Grantee Dr. Atul Butte

NLM Grantee Dr. Atul Butte