Biomedical Informatics

Database construction; data management

Director for Clinical Informatics: Elmer V. Bernstam, MD, MSE
Co-Director for Translational Informatics (UT MDACC lead): Funda Meric-Bernstam, MD
Co-Director for Bioinformatics: Jeffrey Chang, PhD
Contact person: Susan C. Guerrero 713-500-3926

Translational research requires the application of knowledge gained in one context to another context and therefore the transfer of data from one context to another.   The goal of the CCTS Biomedical Informatics Component is to transform clinical and translational research by improving communication and integrating disparate data sources, including clinical, laboratory, regulatory, and administrative data.  The Biomedical Informatics Component is working at two levels:  institutional and individual. 

At the institutional level, the Component is

  • developing a research electronic medical record (rEMR) that allows access to data from multiple sources and institutions, including developing processes and implementing systems to transfer data among the CCTS’s three component institutions (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the Memorial Hermann Hospital System) and among UTHealth’s six component schools
  • working within UTHealth to foster best-practices in data management to allow data integration and re-purposing
  • working with other CTSA institutions at the national level to develop policies and approaches to support biomedical research
  • advancing the science of biomedical informatics

At the individual level, the Component consults with investigators planning studies to assist them with their informatics needs, including

  • helping investigators follow “best practices” in data management, including
    - maintaining security of data, for example: protection from unauthorized access (hackers)
    - assisting compliance with regulatory data handling standards, for example: following appropriate data standards for submission to the FDA, making data sets available as per NIH guidelines
    - streamlining processes, for example: minimizing data reentry (computer ? paper ? computer)
  • designing and implementing databases, for example: for data sets that are too large for Excel/Access
  • composing and implementing interfaces for clinical data collection
  • modifying existing databases for more efficient use, for example: transitioning from Excel to server-based data storage and analysis
  • helping investigators obtain and use electronic access to existing resources within and outside of UTHealth, for example: accessing the document management system within UTHealth, working with Bioinformatics Station at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

 Also, see the Biomedical Informatics Website at

Investigators using the CRUs can request bioinformatics assistance on the iRIS/CCTS application.  Other investigators can contact Susan Guerrero ( 713-500-3926 to discuss options.