Biomedical Informatics

The CTSI Informatics Core’s mission is to enable clinical and translational investigators in all phases of the research lifecycle through the innovative collection and use of biomedical data.

The Core seeks to enable translational research by providing access to electronic health records (EHRs) for research, informatics tools, and enabling innovative use of biomedical data. It works with individual investigators and participates in institutional as well as national projects.

The Core provides assistance in obtaining and managing EHRs and other biomedical data. It deploys novel informatics tools and provides training in their use to research facilitators and investigators. Examples of such tools include the ACT platform for self-service cohort discovery using EHRs, REDCap for managing online surveys, and the Pitt Biorepository Database (PDB). In addition, the Core facilitates multidisciplinary research efforts that include informatics as a key component.

At the institutional level, the Core maintains Neptune, a research data warehouse that integrates and harmonizes EHRs from UPMC. Based upon Neptune, the Core also operates the Health Record Research Request (R3) service.

At the national level, the Core participates in the All of Us Research Program, the PaTH Clinical Research Network and the Genomic Information Commons (GIC).

R3 Health Record Research Request

Informatics Core Services

  • Cohort discovery to determine the number of patients who match study criteria. Single site cohort discovery provides counts of UPMC patients. Multi-site cohort discovery provides counts of patients from multiple CTSA hubs.
  • Access to SHRINE, which enables an approved investigator to create queries and obtain cohort discovery counts from CTSA hubs in real-time via the ACT platform.
  • Provisioning of de-identified and identified EMR data of UPMC patients for research through Health Record Research Request (R3) service.
  • Assistance in inviting patients to participate in research studies using the Pitt+Me research registry.
  • Assistance with REDCap which is a secure web application for building and managing online surveys, data entry forms, and databases.
  • Consultation for identifying appropriate software for storing research data or appropriate methodology for design or evaluation of software to be developed for a grant.
  • Help Desk support for SHRINE cohort discovery tool, REDCap, and data requests.

Team & Contact Info

Michael J. Becich, MD, PhD

Co-director, Biomedical Informatics
Phone: 412-648-9244

Shyam Visweswaran, MD, PhD

Co-director, Informatics Core
Phone: 412-648-7119

Nickie Capella

Director, Research Informatics
Phone: 412-624-5459