Category Archives: News

Meet the Computational Life Sciences Seminar Series

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In October, the Center for Research Informatics and the Graham School MSc in Biomedical Informatics program jointly launched a new monthly speaker series, the Computational Life Science Seminar Series (CLSSS). The CLSSS was created to bring together researchers from all life sciences fields and offer a forum to highlight new research and foster collaborations. The format is flexible and sessions are open to faculty, students, and researchers throughout the University of Chicago community.

Thus far, the series has hosted speakers from the Center for Data Intensive Science to showcase data commons initiatives, as well as from the Research Computing Center to present their XROMM data management system (read a recap of this session here). The next seminar, scheduled for January 25, will present research currently underway in Jack Gilbert’s laboratory looking at how genomics of the microbiome might be connected to health and obesity outcomes. Register here, and join the mailing list to stay informed about future CLSSS sessions.

CRI and Graham School Offer Online Healthcare Informatics Course

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The Graham School MSc in Biomedical Informatics program has partnered with online education company GetSmarter to offer an 8-week online course in Healthcare Informatics. CRI Director Sam Volchenboum serves as Course Convener, guiding the course design and teaching some of the modules alongside other University experts. The online course was developed in order to bring the University of Chicago’s expertise in healthcare informatics to a worldwide audience, preparing students to enter a field that is becoming more complex and demanding by the year as more and more healthcare data is made available to study. Learn more about why we’re offering this course here. The next session begins February 28.

MScBMI Students Present Capstones

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The 2017 cohort of the Graham School Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics program, which is supported and partially taught by the Center for Research Informatics, presented their capstone research projects this month in the program’s third annual Capstone Showcase. The eight projects featured a wide range of topics and approaches to informatics research. Read more about the capstones here.

REDCap New Features

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The CRI’s instance of REDCap has been upgraded to version 7.6.0. Click here to read about the newest features and all other improvements. Highlighted new features include:

New Interface – a new look and layout is presented, and the base font is now Open Sans (previously Arial). The new font is slightly larger in size, providing better readability.
REDCap Messenger – a communication platform built directly into REDCap which allows users to communicate easily and efficiently with each other in a secure manner.
Repeating Instruments and Events – there is now the ability to repeat a data collection instrument or an entire event of instruments an unlimited number of times without having to setup the events beforehand.
Custom Event Labels – these custom labels can be used for piping data from any event in a longitudinal project when adding/editing events on the Define Events page.
Custom Record Status Dashboards – users can build and save custom versions of the Record Status Dashboard to customize the dashboard to their liking.
New Record Home Page – many record level actions (rename, delete, DAG) have been moved and consolidated on a new record home page.
New Form Status Save Buttons – redesign of save buttons, and new buttons for “Save & Exit Form” and “Save & Go to Next Record”.
Enhanced Buttons for Surveys – radio buttons and checkboxes can appear as large animated buttons that look more modern and stylish than traditional radios and checkboxes.
PDF Download for Survey Respondents – on an instrument’s survey settings page, a user may enable the option “Allow participants to download a PDF of their responses at end of survey?”.
New Action Tags – action tags are an excellent way to customize the data entry experience for surveys and forms.

Please contact REDCap Support with any questions.

Sam Volchenboum Receives Rally for Research Grant

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University of Chicago Medicine has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research to support CRI Director Sam Volchenboum’s work building a research data commons for rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric soft tissue cancer. This project, called INSTruCT, has the goal of bringing together clinical trials data from children with rhabdomyosarcoma around the world to enable data mining studies. Learn more about INSTruCT and the CRI’s other pediatric cancer research data commons work here.

Apply for Seed Funding for CRI Services!

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The Department of Pediatrics has released a Request for Applications for a new initiative to foster excellence in research scholarship. This initiative will provide seed funding for promising clinical and health outcomes research projects focused on the health of children and their families. In particular, the Department aims to promote the early career development of translational and clinical faculty researchers, with the goal of generating preliminary data for subsequent funding applications.

This seed funding will be available to support services from the Center for Research Informatics, such as data requests from the Clinical Research Data Warehouse, data analysis by the Bioinformatics Core, or application development.

The awards: four awards of up to $5000 each
Who is eligible: faculty, fellows, and residents with faculty mentors
How to apply: find the Request for Applications here and apply by October 15

CRI to play role in new pediatric data resource center

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As part of a newly announced five-year, $14.8 million NIH grant, the CRI will play a key role in building the Gabriella Miller Kids First pediatric data resource center. The center, a multi-institutional project headquartered at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, will provide pediatric researchers with a much-needed way to work with large sets of genomic and clinical data related to childhood cancer in order to better predict and treat it.

Two UChicago data science groups, the CRI and the Center for Data Intensive Science (CDIS), will take part in the project under the leadership of CDIS Director Robert Grossman, PhD, and CRI Director Sam Volchenboum, MD, PhD. A team combining both groups’ expertise in building data commons will be responsible for designing and operating the technical foundations of the project: the software that will be used to process and share data within the center, including the integration of disparate data sources, coordination with third-party applications, and support for data analysis.

By leveraging our years of experience working with multi-institutional data networks and large biomedical datasets, through this project the CRI has the opportunity to make a major contribution toward ending childhood cancer. Read more about the Kids First center and UChicago’s role here.