Russ B. Altman, MD, PhD

Professor of Bioengineering | Stanford University

Russ B. Altman

Using Big Data to Optimize the Use of Medications

1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. | Plenary Session

Session Abstract

Our understanding of drug response is being transformed by access to new data streams: electronic medical records, molecular “omics” measurements, and wearables. In this session, we will explore the ways in which these data sources can inform our understanding of drug response and how current research may change the way we develop, approve and use medications – alone and in combination.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this learning activity, participants will be able to:

  • Identify opportunities for using big medical data to understand how drugs work and the best use of those drugs
  • Discuss how genetics influences drug responses
  • Explore the promise of the emerging field of “pharmacogenomics”
  • Review current progress towards bringing research capabilities into the clinic
Russ B. Altman

Speaker Bio

Russ Biagio Altman, MD, PhD, is a professor of bioengineering, genetics, medicine, and biomedical data science (and of computer science, by courtesy) and past chairman of the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computing and informatics technologies to problems relevant to medicine. He is particularly interested in methods for understanding drug action at molecular, cellular, organism and population levels. His lab studies how human genetic variation impacts drug response (e.g., Other work focuses on the analysis of biological molecules to understand the actions, interactions and adverse events of drugs (e.g., He helps lead an FDA-supported Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science & Innovation.

Dr. Altman holds an AB from Harvard College, and an MD from Stanford Medical School, and a PhD in Medical Information Sciences from Stanford. He received the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Altman is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine, IOM). He is a past-president, founding board member, and a fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a past-president of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT). He has chaired the Science Board advising the FDA commissioner, currently serves on the NIH Director’s Advisory Committee, and is cochair of the IOM Drug Forum. He is an organizer of the annual Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, and a founder of Personalis, Inc.

Dr. Altman is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Clinical Informatics. He received the Stanford Medical School graduate teaching award in 2000 and mentorship award in 2014.