September 2011 Archives

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has scheduled a planned shut down of the WBOB data center which will impact CTSI systems including the CTR Portal, the clinical research unit scheduling system, and REDCap. The service interruption will begin Saturday afternoon, October 1, 2011 at 2:00 PM. These CTSI systems are scheduled to be restored by 12:00 Noon Sunday, October 2.

OIT is shutting down the WBOB data center to perform necessary maintenance, testing, and repairs to the facility infrastructure. This shut down will impact OIT services as well as other IT services across the University.

Thank you for your patience.

Science Cafe
Nearly 30 people attended CTSI's quarterly Science Cafe on Sept. 22 to hear about new therapies and alternative treatments used in clinical trials to treat rare genetic neurological disorders.

Chester Whitley, M.D., Ph.D. provided a detailed overview of clinical research that has led to improved health for those affected by rare genetic and metabolic disorders such as Hunter syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, Sanfilippo syndrome, Gaucher disease and Hurler syndrome.

View Dr. Whitley's presentation here.

Learn about health informatics, record banks and strategies to build an effective public health information infrastructure. On Wednesday Sept. 28 at 3:30 pm in the Mayo Auditorium Dr. William Yasnoff, M.D., Ph.D. will present "Integrating Public Health and Clinical Care Using Electronic Health Information."

Sponsored by the UMN's Institute for Health Informatics, this presentation covers guidelines established in 2001 by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, which calls for public policy to establish a health information infrastructure.

A national leader in health informatics, Dr. Yasnoff is past senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Health Information Infrastructure. He also helped establish the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and has authored more than 300 publications and presentations on health informatics.

The UMN Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment and the Life Sciences is offering a one-day ethics seminar on Sept. 26 from 8:30 am to 4:45 pm at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Genome Research Institute, the Nanodiagnostics and Nanotherapeutics: Building Research Ethics & Oversight conference offers an overview of the challenges facing nanomedicine research and human subject protection. Cost is $50. View the list of speakers and register here.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Biomedical Informatics team launches UMN Profiles, a web-based tool to help create meaningful connections among the research community in Minnesota and around the world.

What is UMN Profiles?

UMN Profiles is a research networking software tool and an expertise database. It not only shows traditional directory information (e.g., name, phone number, office location), but also illustrates how each person is connected to others in the broad research community.

How does UMN Profiles help make connections?

A researcher can search UMN Profiles using keywords, like "diabetes" or "cancer," and receive a list of potential University of Minnesota colleagues working in that area. UMN Profiles displays a visual network map for each expert, showing how that individual is linked to others in the research community by publishing together or acting as a mentor, for example.

UMN Profiles is also part of a national research network that currently includes 30 research institutions. This network is accessible at and provides access to approximately 50,000 experts and potential collaborators. Likewise, users of the national network can search for expertise and collaborators at UMN.

Watch this video to learn more, including how Christine Blue of the School of Dentistry found a colleague and developed a new research partnership using Profiles.

Who can use UMN Profiles?
Anyone with access to the internet--from a physician researcher in rural Minnesota to a nursing student across the globe--can search UMN Profiles to locate experts and potential collaborators. Health sciences researchers at the University of Minnesota have access to another level of functionality when they are automatically added as users with a system-generated profile. That profile includes demographic information, publications, and connections to colleagues.

The UMN Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) aims to expand Profiles to connect researchers across disciplines, including biological sciences and engineering, and in community-based organizations. This expansion is supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium, a group of 60 medical research institutions--including the University of Minnesota--that are transforming the way biomedical research is conducted. UMN Profiles and other research networking tools create the meaningful connections necessary to achieve CTSA goals: to accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients; to engage communities in clinical research efforts; and to train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers.

What kind of information is included on an individual's profile?
When you view a person's profile, three types of information are displayed:

Managed Descriptions include demographic information, including name, titles, affiliation, phone number and email address.

Passive Networks are formed automatically when researchers share common traits such as being in the same department, working in the same building, co-authoring the same paper, or researching the same topics.

Active networks are defined by the user. When users view other people's profiles, they can mark those people as collaborators, advisors, or advisees.

How is the information in UMN Profiles maintained? Is it up to date?
New users are added to UMN Profiles once each quarter by pulling in associated demographic information from the PeopleSoft human resources system on a regular basis. Publications are added from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database, and passive networks are automatically updated, once each quarter. Individual users may also log in at any time to update their photo, list awards and presentations, or manually add publications which are not available through PubMed.

What's next for UMN Profiles?
CTSI, together with a team from UMN Biomedical Health Informatics and the Health Sciences Libraries, is working to make research networking software more useful for those outside of traditional health sciences disciplines. Future enhancements include the addition of information about grants and expertise profiles of community partners.

Other research networking tools will be deployed and will integrate with UMN Profiles to provide institution-wide, cross-disciplinary identification of experts. The integrated seamless research networking system will be a leading example of our investment in collaborative research and will provide University of Minnesota researchers with a premier networking system.

Who created UMN Profiles?
This service is made possible by the Profiles Research Networking Software developed under the supervision of Griffin M Weber, MD, PhD, with support from Grant Number 1 UL1 RR025758-01 to Harvard Catalyst: The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center from the National Center for Research Resources and support from Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers.

For further information, questions, or demonstrations, please contact the CTSI Front Door at 612-625-2874 or