Welcome to the Center for Research Informatics

Since 2011, the CRI has provided the Biological Sciences Division with computing resources, services, and expertise to enable world-class research.

We offer state-of-the-art technologies for working with clinical, translational, and basic science data – from acquisition and storage to analysis and sharing. Our resources are secure, standards-compliant, and open to all members of the BSD. We take pride in being research collaborators who can work with you through all the stages of a project.

In addition, we support research and education in the field of informatics. We work with the Institute for Translational Medicine and other partners on joint initiatives, and we are strong advocates for informatics within our research communities.

We hope you’ll take a look around, learn more about what we can do, and consider making the CRI your research partner. If you have any questions or want to talk more about a project, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Welcome, Thorbjoern
The CRI welcomes our new Director of IT Operations & Infrastructure, Thorbjoern Axelsson. Thorbjoern will lead the CRI Systems team in running, expanding, and improving our secure computing infrastructure. He joins us from the University of Kansas, where he was Associate Director of Enterprise Infrastructure. Thorbjoern has a broad range of IT expertise, with a background that includes management, research support, IT infrastructure on all levels, security, project management, IT architecture, and software development.

CRDW Office Hours Now Tuesdays 9-12
Beginning August 12, weekly office hours with CRDW staff will now take place on Tuesdays from 9am to noon in KCBD 1101. Schedule a time slot to work on a data request, discover what data is available for your research, or discuss the status of a current request. For more information, click here.

Plamen Martinov Appointed Director of BSD Information Security
As the CRI’s Director of Systems and Security, Plamen Martinov conceived of and developed a BSD-wide initiative to improve information security. Based in part on this work, he has been selected for a newly created leadership position in which he will oversee and direct information security for the entire Biological Sciences Division. With the direction of Chief Research Informatics Officer Robert Grossman, he will work to ensure that BSD research can be conducted in a safe, compliant, and secure IT environment. Plamen will continue to work closely with the CRI on security initiatives, and we are proud to be working with him at the forefront of this important issue.

CRI-Supported Genomic Prescribing System Awarded Innovation Fund Investment
The University of Chicago Innovation Fund has awarded a $100,000 investment in support of the Genomic Prescribing System (GPS) project led by physicians Mark Ratain and Peter O’Donnell, business lead Ken Bradley, and CRI programmer Keith Danahey. This personalized medicine project expands on the successes of the 1200 Patients project, for which Keith is also the programmer. GPS creates a database of how patients with a given genetic profile commonly react to various medications, searchable through a secure online portal. Physicians can use this information to help inform their prescribing choices for enrolled patients. For more, read the UChicago News article on the award. Congratulations, Keith!

Change in Recommendation for File Encryption
The CRI strongly recommends that all researchers use an encryption tool when working with data containing PHI. On May 28, 2014, the creators of the TrueCrypt encryption project announced that their product will no longer be supported; the CRI will therefore discontinue its use. Our Systems and Security team has evaluated several alternative encryption solutions and selected AxCrypt. For more information, see our encryption recommendations.

Response to Heartbleed Security Vulnerability
On April 7, information was released about a major security vulnerability called ”Heartbleed.” This vulnerability has been estimated to affect about 66% of secure web traffic and can allow attackers to steal logins, passwords, and more from website communication that we all assumed to be safe. The CRI has taken steps to make our systems secure. For more information on the CRI’s response and how you can protect yourself, see our message to users.

Annual Report
The CRI’s Annual Report is now available online. Browse to see our accomplishments of 2012-13, spotlights on some of the most interesting research facilitated by our resources and staff expertise, and our plans for the coming year.