Institute Researchers Join National Digital Health Informatics Collaborative

Informatics experts at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded close to $3 million as part of a five-year cooperative agreement to launch the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H).

The collaborative initiative is part of a $25 million grant funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is the prime recipient of the grant. 

The award supports efforts to integrate informatics activities across the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, a network of more than 50 medical research institutions, and to provide collaborative clinical and translational research infrastructure.

“Advances in data science are transforming how we conduct biomedical research in both translational and clinical fields. The key is to deliver relevant and up-to-date, ideally real-time, information to researchers in a more efficient way, given the sheer amount of data being produced every day,” describes Chunlei Wu, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative structural and computational biology at TSRI and the site principal investigator (PI) for TSRI on this grant.

The newly created center will be led by researchers from OHSU, Northwestern University, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Sage Bionetworks, together with TSRI, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Iowa and The Jackson Laboratory. 

“The goal is to unlock the amazing wealth of technologies and innovation located within each individual CTSA member institution, and to create cohesive communities of practice founded on the fundamental premise that team science, data sharing, and collaborative innovation can advance patient care,” describes Melissa Haendel, Ph.D., associate professor of OHSU and the leading PI on this grant.

The CD2H will have several priorities to support a vibrant and evolving informatics ecosystem across the CTSA consortium. These include support and enhancement of a collaborative informatics community; promotion of software standards for interoperability; growth of collaborative innovation across informatics tools, methods, and processes; data science education for CTSA program researchers; and development of novel methods and tools for the evaluation of the impact of these activities to enhance health care through data and informatics.

Wu and his team at TSRI will be tasked with building the high-performance and scalable data access infrastructure and defining community best practice for data processing and software implementations. Wu will also work together with Ali Torkamani, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative structural and computational biology at TSRI and director of genomics of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), to ensure the data produced at local CTSA hubs are accessible in a coherent way by other CTSA hubs, as well as by the general research community.

“As a CTSA hub that has been emphasizing genomic and digital sensor bioinformatics, we are thrilled to help pave the data-to-health path with OHSU and a remarkable network of collaborators,” says Eric Topol, M.D., professor of molecular medicine at TSRI, who also directs STSI, which is supported in part by NCATS and is a member of the CTSA consortium (Grant UL1 TR001114).

The CTSA Program National Center for Data to Health is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (Grant U24TR002306). 

About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see

About the Scripps Translational Science Institute
The Scripps Translational Science Institute aims to replace traditional one-size-fits-all medicine with individualized health care by leveraging the power of genomic medicine, wireless health sensors and mobile phone applications, and other digital medicine technologies. In a unique collaboration, STSI merges the considerable biomedical science expertise of The Scripps Research Institute with Scripps Health’s exceptional patient care and clinical research capabilities. STSI is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award. For more information, visit

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