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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2019 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Research Informatics Support for NICHD's Division of Intramural Research

Ryan Dale
  • Ryan Dale, PhD, Scientific Information Officer
  • Marco Crosby, Program Engineer
  • Michelle Duverneau, IT Specialist
  • John Czapary, BS, Laboratory Technical Manager
  • Patrica Pullen, MBA, Project Manager
  • Sean Ivusic, MS, Database Support Lead
  • Asma Idriss, PMP, MS, Program Manager
  • Kesa Koresko, MS, Senior DB/BI Specialist
  • Loc Vu, BS, Lead Software Engineer
  • Matt Breymaier, BS, Senior Bio/Application Software Engineer
  • Nareg Bakirci, MS, Website Developer
  • Nicki Swan, BA, Graphic Designer
  • Raquel Gray, MBA, Team Lead
  • Rana Alneaimy, MD, Documentation Specialist
  • Rolanda Bailey, BS, Documentation Specialist
  • Tamara Prodanov, MD, Documentation Specialist
  • Kami Emanuel, Information Specialist
  • Audrey Harrell, MS, Information Specialist
  • Vida Bayat Mokhtari, MD, Information Specialist
  • Alesia Robinson, BS, Information Specialist
  • George Tran, Information Specialist

The Computer Support Services Core (CSSC) Facility provides informatics and research services to intramural investigators at NICHD in five key areas: core IT support, clinical informatics, custom software development for scientific and administrative support, and biological visualization services.

Core IT Services

The CSSC continued to expand its services to the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) community in the following core IT areas:

Network and desktop services

During the past year, the CSSC continued supporting reliable, secure, and efficient information technology solutions. This includes acquisition, maintenance, and support for licensed software used by the DIR community e.g., GraphPad Prism, Amira, DNASTAR Lasergene, MathWorks MATLAB, SnapGene, and FlowJo, as well as network services (email, data backups, VPN, helix, PDAs, wireless configurations) and cross-platform desktop, server and application hosting in the Rock Spring and Bldg. 35 Data Centers. We also assist users in identifying, researching, and purchasing custom hardware configurations to match research instrument requirements.

Data-recovery services

The CSSC implemented core data recovery tools for all media: hard drive, SSD, and flash etc., including RAID 0 and 5 recovery tools. Since 2005, the Core has recovered over five terabytes of research data from failed drives and media, saving many thousands of dollars in recovery costs.

Clinical Informatics

The CSSC continued to support and develop applications related to clinical and translational medicine, including the Clinical Trials Database (CTDB) project. Such informatics tools allow researchers to design, collect, and report clinical observations related to natural history and interval-based studies. The total number of protocols and research projects supported by the CTDB team increased to 605 for 15 NIH institutes, with an expansion of research questions to over 240,000. Since its inception, data from CTDB supported 1,500 NICHD publications.

Our software development group completed one release that included features for QA module, Biorepository, Form Data download and various interface improvements. Our database development and reporting team continued to migrate protocol data from various NIH institutes, while supplying reporting for protocols within CTDB. New data-marts (pft, exercise data, and six minutes walk) and reporting functionalities were added to the CTDB data-mart, allowing users to combine and retrieve additional information. We also supported the Clinical Trial Survey System (CTSS), an application for patient surveys, used for 68 active protocols; 101 CTSS websites were archived in 2019.

Custom Software Development for Scientific and Administrative Support

The CSSC provides custom software development for the DIR's scientific and administrative community.

We continued to enhance the Manuscript Tracking System (MTrac), a web-based application that automates the clearance and approval process for manuscripts in the DIR.

The DIRweb application supports several activities: the NICHD annual report, PI and Fellows retreats, Training tracking, Fellows progress report, and Administrative Management Branch (AMB) personnel and travel package tracking.

DIRweb includes lab training web services for the NIH Enterprise Directory and Division of Occupational Health and Safety Training.

The team continued to release enhancements to the Fellows Annual Progress Report, a unified means for tracking and mentoring intramural trainees along with easing the re-appointment process. This solution provided the Office of Education with useful metrics regarding mentoring and training programs. The Exit Survey feature, a short survey allowing DIR trainees a platform for providing feedback, has also been updated for DIR Fellows.

We continued to develop the new Package Tracking module for the DIR AMB, providing AMB staff real-time accuracy metrics for personnel and travel package compilation. A feedback system was developed to support real-time customer satisfaction collection for the AMB, Office of the Clinical Director, and laboratory administrative support staff. The system also offers more detailed feedback submissions periodically along with comprehensive response metrics.

The CSSC team continued to work on Cost Tracker, an application that permits capturing, organizing, and reporting of various expenses on a per-protocol basis. The work is done closely with the Office of the Clinical Director to improve protocol cost vs. effectiveness and a protocol-cost estimator module.

Biological visualization services

The CSSC team provided DIR laboratories with scientific communications and media services, including publication support, website support, audio/visual production, and print media.

The services were provided to: The NICHD DIR Annual Report, the DIR Annual Fellows and Scientific Retreats, the DIR Annual Fellows and Scientific Retreats, the Anita B. Roberts Lecture Series, the annual Mortimer B. Lipsett Lecture, the NICHD Exchange lecture series, NICHD research labs, and medical training programs, including the Pediatric Endocrinology Training Program and the Inter-Institute Adult Endocrinology Training Program. Services included recording audio and video of presenters.

We supported the NICHD Office of Education by producing a monthly newsletter, "The NICHD Connection," in collaboration with Intramural Fellows. We created print collateral for conferences, including the NICHD Scientific Retreat and NICHD Fellows Retreat, and updated recruitment materials for NICHD's clinical training programs. We also continued maintaining websites for the NICHD DIR Annual Report and Annual Fellows Retreat.

The CSSC continued to provide a platform for conducting scientific review by the Board of Scientific Counselors, administrative intranet support, and business operations. In 2019, we supported the migration of the public facing laboratory websites from Confluence wiki to Drupal. The plan for Science NICHD is to keep hosting NICHD DIR internal sites.

Additional Funding

  • The Clinical Trials Database (CTDB) project receives funding from other NIH Intramural Institute or Center programs, including NINR, NIMH, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIAMS, NINDS, CC, NHLBI, NIDCD, NHGRI, NCCIH, NIMHD, and NIDDK.


  • Richard Childs, MD, Clinical Director, NHLBI, Bethesda, MD
  • Maryland Pao, MD, Clinical Director, NIMH, Bethesda, MD
  • Forbes D. Porter, MD, PhD, Section on Molecular Dysmorphology, NICHD, Bethesda, MD
  • Steven Stanhope, PhD, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • Constantine Stratakis, MD, D(med)Sci, Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, NICHD, Bethesda, MD
  • Jack Yanovski, MD, PhD, Section on Growth and Obesity, NICHD, Bethesda, MD


For more information, email

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