Information Systems and Support in the Genetics Program
To support the complex data management needs of genetic epidemiology studies in the genetics program, a team of faculty members, system administrators, database application developers, and a systems analysts are responsible for designing, implementing and testing software systems for central data collection, database management ,quality assurance, and analysis.
The Genetics Program IT staff provides data management, web development, R, SAS, SPSS programming support, bio-statistical analysis, and genetics linkage analysis. The team is also responsible for reviewing and evaluating data forms, coding schemes, setting laboratory value standards, reviewing data clarification forms, generating screens for data entry and report generation.
There are two experienced Database Application Developers on staff who provide database management, web development and application development support. They are responsible for designing and maintaining research data bases, developing web-based data entry systems, extracting criteria based subsets, preparation of data for epidemiological and genetic studies, graphic and report generation. They also support the analytic capabilities within the Genetics Program.
There are four experienced SAS programmers on staff who provide extensive statistical programming support for the Genetics Program. This involves programming for monthly and periodic protocol reports, data preparation for analysis and interactive data analysis with faculty and researchers.
There is one full-time System Administrator to provide administration for our database servers, web servers, 24-node Linux Cluster, and network of Windows workstations. The system administrator is responsible for nightly tape backups, maintaining the security of all systems by providing up to date security patches, virus updates, and operating system upgrades.
For Data Entry, there is one part-time data entry clerk for the clinical research projects.
There are presently 2 project leaders that coordinate the data collection efforts of 19 Clinical Centers.
Leading the Information Technology staff is John Farrell, the Computer Operations Manager. He has over 25 years experience developing database management systems for medical research projects at Boston University Medical School.
There are 14 faculty members, 3 Post-Doctoral Students, and 2 Doctoral Students who provide the analysis support for the Genetic Program research. They are responsible for the research protocol design, statistical data analysis and genetic epidemiological research.
Because of the collaborative focus of our Program, the Genetics IT staff is well prepared to cooperate with the Clinical Sites and collaborators in all design, collection and analysis functions. This group of researchers has particular strength in genetic epidemiology to determine environmental and genetic factors underlying disease.