January 27, 2009

NIH Awards Case Western Reserve $1.33M to Improve Informatics Support for Clinical and Translational Scientists

Informatics support is for researchers conducting small-to medium-sized clinical studies and includes systems that store, process and facilitate the exchange of information

Case Western Reserve University has been awarded a two-year contract for $1.33 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund a pilot project that will expand informatics support for investigators, providing improved collaboration and sharing of information between investigators from multiple disciplines.

Case Western Reserve University was one of three universities awarded this pilot project funding. The contracts were awarded to institutions that receive NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and represents a collaboration among individuals at three or more institutions. Administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), Case Western Reserve University received a $64M CTSA award in September 2007 and in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth Medical Center formed the Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) in September 2007.

The Case Western Reserve University project, headed by Susan Redline of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and G.Q. Zhang, the co-principal investigator from the Case School of Engineering, includes investigators from the Marshfield Clinic, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Michigan. This team will develop Multi-Modality Multi-Resource Environment for Physiological and Clinical Research (Physio-MIMI), an informatics infrastructure for collecting, managing and analyzing diverse data types across institutions.

"The software developed will provide easier collaboration between investigators from diverse disciplines and help them better address complex health problems that affect multiple aspects of health, such as the heart, brain (sleep) and genomic data," said Redline. "By enhancing the ability of investigators to access, combine and analyze research information from physiological testing, questionnaires and other sources, the hope is that novel markers of disease will be identified, leading to new approaches for screening, diagnosing and treating illnesses."

Researchers will be able to more effectively and efficiently collaborate in national studies that include many complex data sources and types, such as heart or brain monitoring data and genomic information. A key component of the system will allow secure, safe and regulated transfer of information from clinical care systems and research databases. Physio-MIMI leverages an existing system called MIMI, developed by Zhang’s group in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve. MIMI has been deployed in a number of facilities and centers across campus to allow for more effective management of resources and research data.

"These projects, which will build on the existing strong informatics expertise at the institutions, will promote new ways in which to enable researchers to collaborate and communicate across the CTSA consortium and with other partners in their research," said NCRR Director Barbara M. Alving, M.D. "The projects are one important part of a larger effort to achieve the potential of clinical and translational science and reduce the time it takes to develop new treatments for disease."

One of the CTSA program goals is to advance collaborations in clinical and translational research by interdisciplinary teams of investigators. These collaborations help enable the translation of rapidly evolving information developed in basic biomedical research into treatments and strategies to improve human health.

The CTSC is lead by principal investigator Pamela B. Davis, dean and vice president for medical affairs of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and principal investigator, and Richard A. Rudick, vice chair of the Neurological Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and co-principal investigator of the CTSC. Learn more.

For more information contact Christina DeAngelis, 216.368.3635.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, January 27, 2009 12:31 PM | News Topics: Awards, Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Faculty, Research, School of Medicine, news

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