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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.

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.

 

UCM/Google partnership in the news

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The research collaboration between Google and University of Chicago Medicine was profiled this week in Becker’s Hospital Review, which called our partnership “a data-driven duo to watch.”

The article highlights how UCM will take advantage of the CRI’s Clinical Research Data Warehouse as a base for Google’s predictive models. CRI Director Sam Volchenboum explains why the CRDW is a particularly important resource for the Google project: “We’ve taken a very rigorous approach to our data warehouse that is not necessarily the norm. We’ve been able to take our clinical data and standardize it and clean it up in a way that makes it much more easy to analyze and to perform this type of machine learning.”

“Our digital trail leaves many clues, both subtle and overt, to our overall health and well-being.”

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In Wired, CRI Director Sam Volchenboum shares a thought-provoking essay on the potential of social networks like Facebook and Google to predict disease. As our daily lives generate more and more trackable data through social media, wearables, GPS, etc., algorithms could become better and better at recognizing patterns that could point to health conditions — but the potential benefits of this are balanced with significant risks. Read Sam’s take on it here.