The 3 Pillars

The Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics (ICBI) aims to make available a variety of value-added services and research capabilities to the Georgetown University community, as well as to agencies and entities outside Georgetown University. Our purpose is to conduct cutting-edge informatics research to help enable and advance scientific goals (research and teaching) of relevance to Georgetown and the scientific community. Our work is structured in three pillars.

Pillar 1: Cutting Edge Research

The ICBI flagship web platform, the Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC), enables integrative translational and systems-based approaches to research and clinical practice for cancer. G-DOC is a shareable research infrastructure that allows physician scientists and translational researchers to mine and analyze a variety of “omics” and clinical outcomes data for cancer patients.

With the goal of improving overall health outcomes through advanced genomics research, we present G-DOC Plus, a web platform that enables the integrative analysis of multiple data types to understand mechanisms of cancer and non-cancer diseases for precision medicine. G-DOC Plus allows researchers to explore data one sample at a time, as a sub-cohort of samples; or as a population as a whole, providing the user with a comprehensive view of the data.

G-DOC Plus was developed using in-house architectural framework to support more than 700 users and 9,000 patient and cell line data. Our data collection includes whole genome sequencing (WGS) data from the 1000 Genomes Project and Complete Genomics; multi-omics data from the NCI-60 cell line collection; and numerous breast and gastro-intestinal studies.

The long-term vision of G-DOC Plus is to extend it to hospital networks to provide more effective clinical decision support using multi-omics and NGS data. G-DOC Plus was released in October 2014, and is available at: https://gdoc.georgetown.edu. Publications that used G-DOC are listed here: https://gdoc.georgetown.edu/gdoc/policies/citations

Pillar 2: Consultation and Support Services

To support our goal to provide an operationally efficient infrastructure for researchers and administrators, ICBI offers expert services in 2013 to meet community needs and build engagement across the institution. Investigators can schedule a free initial consultation with ICBI staff and continue with a more in-depth collaboration as needed. 

ICBI faculty and staff provide expert support services and work with researchers to select appropriate data analysis approach for different studies, organize clinical datasets, and run data through bioinformatics pipelines to help answer research questions. 

Consultation often involves study guidance, information about available resources, systems and tools, and analytic services depending on the scope of the project. The general areas of consultation include: next generation sequencing analysis, molecular profiling analysis, big data analytics, data integration, visualization, systems biology analysis, G-DOC, and bioinformatics software training.

Pillar 3: Education and Training

In 2011, the Biomedical Informatics program initiated a MS/MD joint degree program in Systems Medicine as part of the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science, an NIH-supported CTSA. The master’s program in Biomedical Informatics was designed by ICBI senior staff to help train the next generation of physicians who will rely on bioinformatics and IT in health care settings. The program entails 10 courses for a total of 30 credits and a minimum of 10 hours a week performing in silico research under the mentorship of a senior member of the ICBI staff. This program is offered to medical students from Georgetown University and Howard University to better prepare them for the future of health care.

Our faculty members regularly teach, co-teach, or guest lecture graduate school courses at Georgetown University. These courses include the following:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Informatics (BCHD-591)
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics (BCHB-521)
  • Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (BCHB-580)
  • Resources for Cancer Research (TBIO546)
  • Cancer Genetics (TBIO525)
  • Undergraduate and graduate Bioinformatics courses at George Washington University
     

ICBI also offers an internship program that provides training under the mentorship of a senior staff member. Interns perform research on a funded project within the group. This program provides valuable hands-on training on real projects, which in turn enables students to have an advantage in their initial foray into the job market.