Biomedical Informatics (BMI)

The Delaware Valley Unit for Biomedical Informatics (BMI) will apply biomedical informatics to T1 and T2 translational research (the familiar bench-to-bedside paradigm and clinical research). It will also fully support T3 translational and practice-based research as well as the dissemination of research findings into day-to-day clinical care.1 BMI will directly participate in translational research via systems biology and computational medicine studies, the bioinformatics analysis of “omic data,” and the development or adoption of database resources and analytic tools. In addition, BMI will indirectly facilitate research by lowering the hurdles inherent in multi-institutional consortia by creating a “one-stop shopping” web portal across the Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (DVICTS). This portal, the Research Commons, will facilitate a broad range of research activities, from initial searches for collaborating investigators, through multiinstitutional regulatory approvals and identification of core resources, to community recruitment and information dissemination. Internally developed applications will often be joint projects of BMI and the primary end user DVICTS entities, including NCTM, PCIR, BERD, CER, and RKE. At the same time, BMI is committed to being part of the CTSA informatics community and using informatics best practices. Thus, we have already adopted or will adopt recognized interoperable tools and approaches such as i2b2, REDCap, VIVO and ResearchMatch rather than redundantly creating local solutions. BMI recognizes the external interoperability, communication, data security, and human subjects protection requirements mandated by the CTSA program.

For T1 and T2 translational research, we plan to 1) create federated i2b2 research data marts (RDMs) and caTissue biospecimen annotation databases; 2) deploy the REDCap research electronic data capture system; and 3) deploy a novel translational bioinformatics resource for the analysis of "omics" data generated from DVICTS systems biology studies. We will also leverage the unique data source presented by the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN). BMI support for DVICTS T3 translational research requires developing innovative informatics strategies, including facilitating the dissemination of relevant research findings directly to clinical practices and patients listed in a DVICTS Clinical and Translational Science Patient Registry (CTSPR) data mart via a Translational Research Automated Communication System (TRACS).
To meet these goals, we have identified 4 specific transformational aims and associated enabling strategies:
  • Aim 1: Transform the scientific and clinical informatics resources within DVICTS institutions into an integrated, interoperable, regional informatics resource that can support projected clinical and translational science activities.

  • Aim 2: Apply informatics to transform the fragmented multi-institutional research process into a seamless, efficient path for DVICTS investigators.

  • Aim 3: Close the translational-research loop by enabling the participation of community physicians and populations in clinical and translational research while fostering interaction between DVICTS investigators and community partners, using best practices to secure data and to protect participant privacy.

  • Aim 4: Provide educational and mentoring opportunities in clinical and translational science informatics for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as well as for community physicians and other healthcare professionals.