Buffalo Translational Consortium News

CTSA Informatics Team Develops Smartphone App to Help Recruitment to Clinical Trials

Posted on 06/30/16 at 08:54 am

The single most important obstacle to performing clinical research is recruiting people to participate in clinical trials. Remarkably, the majority of clinical trials in the US are not completed because not enough participants are recruited. Supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), the CTSA Informatics team has developed an innovative smartphone app that conveniently connects potential volunteers to clinical trials. The team is lead by Dr. Peter Elkin, Professor and Chair of Biomedical Informatics and Informatics Lead for the UB CTSA.

Several innovations make this app a powerful approach to enhancing recruitment to studies

  • The app uses the GPS function of smartphones to connect potential volunteers to studies that are located nearby, an important advance over currently available systems such as clinicaltrials.gov

  • Trial information is automatically extracted from the UB Clinical Trials Management System, eliminating the need for researchers to register trials to be included in the app.

  • The app uses natural language processing technology developed by Dr. Elkin, allowing participants to search for studies by typing in the name of their disorder. This approach eliminates the need for potential volunteers to “guess” key words or titles of studies.

  • The app can be shared widely throughout the CTSA consortium since the GPS function and extraction of data from clinical trial management systems will work at many sites.

  • Once a participant identifies a study about which they would like more information, a single touch connects them with the study coordinator (email or text).

Dr. Elkin and his team are planning to perform a multisite study, with UB as the lead institution, to test the effectiveness of the new app compared to other recruitment strategies.

Members of the Informatics team who contributed to the development of the app include Christina Joshi, CTSA Senior Analyst Programmer, in addition to Daniel Schlegel, PhD, a postdoctoral associate, and Edwin Anand, MD, a clinical fellow, both in the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

For more on the cell phone app see these links: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biosciences and University News

Travel Scholarship Opportunity for 5th Annual Ontology Conference

Posted on 06/09/16 at 02:06 pm

Clinical Terminology: Shock and Awe

Date:  September 7-8, 2016
Location: Ramada Inn, Amherst, NY 

Four scholarships of $500 each will be awarded by the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) to graduate students and early career researchers (maximum of five years from doctoral degree) who are US citizens or permanent residents. Recipients will have the opportunity to present at the meeting. Instructions to apply for the travel scholarship can be found here. The application deadline is July 11, 2016.

You can find more info about the conference here.

The meeting will address the reality and potential of Electronic Health Record technology and of terminology standards such as SNOMED CT. Do such standards enable translational science? Do they support or inhibit research reproducibility? What approaches to patient data area needed to realize the vision of interoperability and data compatibility across the CTSA consortium?

This scholarship program is supported by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) under award Number UL1TR001412. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

National Ontology Meeting Hosted by UB in September 2016

Posted on 05/10/16 at 09:47 am

On September 7 and 8 2017, the University at Buffalo will host the 5th annual workshop of the Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Group on the topic of 

Clinical Terminology: Shock and Awe (C.T.S.A.)

The meeting is sponsored by the UB Department of Biomedical Informatics and the National Center for Ontological Research headquartered in Buffalo.

Discussions will center on usability and other problems with terminologies employed in clinical care and with the Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems that use them. Leading authorities in the field of clinical terminologies and EHR research will participate, including:

  • Olivier Bodenreider MD PhD
    • Chief of the Cognitive Science Branch of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications
    • National Library of Medicine


  • Professor Stefan Schulz
    • Professor of Medical Informatics
    • Medical University of Graz, Austria

Dr Schulz will deliver a keynote address on the reliability of medical coding and on steps towards improvement.

The event provides an opportunity for Buffalo Translational Consortium researchers to interact with investigators at other Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Hubs. A major goal of the workshop is to address ways in which improvements in design and use of standards and EHRs can help to address the informatics and data sharing goals of the CTSA consortium.

More information can be found at:


Translational Science 2016 National Meeting

Posted on 04/26/16 at 10:40 am

The University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Translational Consortium were well represented at Translational Science 2016 in Washington DC April 13 through 15. This is a joint meeting of the

  • Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS)
  • American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR)
  • Clinical Research Forum (CRF)

This meeting is the premier national conference on clinical and translational research and includes keynote talks by national leaders, workshops and interactive sessions in a broad range of timely topics related to clinical and translational research, and scientific presentations by trainees and scholars from across the country.

Both of our CTSA KL2 scholars presented their work at the meeting.

Nikhil Satchidanand PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, presented a poster and was invited to give a talk on his work on developing a mortality index for elderly patients admitted to intensive care units to help in decision making.

Ellen Volpe PhD RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, presented two posters on her work using an innovative intervention called Narrative Exposure Therapy as potential treatment of adolescents experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder and depression related to intimate partner violence.

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