The Biomedical Informatics Unit (BIU) of the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) RCMI Center of Excellence for Clinical and Translational Research (R- CENTER) focuses on integration of MSM and affiliated health information systems -- electronic medical and personal health records, patient databases, and other research databases (basic, translational, clinical and population-based) -- into an interoperable repository. The long-term goal is to establish an integrated standards-based informatics platform to support MSM clinical and translational research investigators in their own work and in sharing research information with collaborators and other investigators in parallel fields. Ultimately, the interoperable repository platform will expand scientific discovery and research translation of MSM investigators in collaboration with A-CTSI partners as well as the RCMI consortium. The building blocks of the repository have begun with the i2b2 platform.
i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) is an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing based at Partners HealthCare System. The i2b2 is a scalable informatics framework that will bridge clinical research data and the vast data banks arising from basic science research in order to better understand the genetic bases of complex diseases. This knowledge will facilitate the design of targeted therapies for individual patients with diseases having genetic origins. i2b2 is being implemented across a number of collaborative research networks. These linked data will serve as a major institutional resource for advancing clinical/translational research, and enhancing career development for clinical/translational research, community health, health services/outcomes and clinical trials. The creation of an integrated data repository will greatly enhance the training and career development goals of the R-CENTER by facilitating ready access to critical research data that will support trainees in the CRECD program, junior investigators, pilot grant awardees and other researchers across the MSM R-CENTER.
The Bioinformatics Lab facilitates analysis of gene expression data gathered from multiplatform microarrays (Agilent, Affymetrix, etc) as well as provides analysis and consultation related to various expression profiling technologies which include RNA, miRNA, ChIP-on-Chip, and Antibody microarrays and post-hoc analysis of SNP and SAGE data.
Currently consists of several rack/blade servers, each equipped with increased memory (96 GB) and hard drive space (18Tb) to house various biomedical/clinical applications capable of 40Gbps data transferring speeds. The servers are running Linux in conjunction with Kernel Based Virtual Machines (KVM) housing several virtual instances of biomedical/clinical databases and applications. A storage solution configuration guaranteeing high availability (HA) of data using a pair of NFS gateway servers in an active-passive configuration to provide resilient data access. The goal is to improve service availability and data integrity in the presence of possible failures or faults, and to maximize performance in the failure-free case. The NFS gateway servers connect multiple storage arrays (231TBs) to provide data access to the virtual machine instances created for clinical databases that are connected to application servers at 40Gbps speed to reduce latency. A high-performance computing (HPC) cluster was built with specialized components providing a fast, reliable, and scalable HPC solution to support processor intensive research. The HPC cluster is equipped with 180 cores and 1.4Tb of Random Access Memory (RAM).