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 medical record data 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 electronic medical record (EMR) data 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 EMR and REDCap (for managing online surveys). 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 EMR data from UPMC for research purposes. Based upon Neptune, the Core also operates the Health Record Research Request (R3) service.

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

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Dr. Shyam Visweswaran
Co-Director, Informatics Core
Phone: 412-648-7119
E-mail: shv3@pitt.edu
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Nickie Cappella
Senior Project Manager
Phone: 412-624-5459
E-mail: nkc7@pitt.edu