March 29, 2012

Online research tools developed at VU lauded

Online research tools developed at VU lauded

Two Web-based research tools developed at Vanderbilt University were highlighted last week during a House subcommittee hearing of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) FY13 budget request.

During his testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on March 20, Thomas Insel, M.D., mentioned REDCap and ResearchMatch as examples of “innovative informatics tools.”

The goal is to speed translation of scientific discoveries into new ways of diagnosing and treating disease, said Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health and acting director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Both tools were developed by the Office of Research informatics team led by Paul Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Informatics.

“ResearchMatch and REDCap are transforming the landscape of clinical research literally around the world,” said Gordon Bernard, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Clinical Science.

“This is a strong testament to the quality and utility of the bioinformatics work of the Vanderbilt informatics community in general, and Paul Harris specifically,” Bernard said.

REDCap, short for Research Electronic Data Capture, is a secure, Web-based application launched in 2004 that is helping researchers around the world collect and manage study data. It currently serves more than 46,000 research end-users at 352 academic and non-profit institutions across six continents.

ResearchMatch, launched in 2009, is a national volunteer recruitment registry hosted by Vanderbilt that helps people who would like to participate in research studies connect with researchers throughout the country.

To date, more than 21,000 potential volunteers have enrolled in the registry through the national ResearchMatch website, Roughly 2,300 volunteers have participated in one or more studies conducted by more than 1,000 researchers at 68 different institutions.