Bioinformatics research is central to the mission of Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute—to help in the preservation and restoration of sight. It intelligently applies cutting edge diagnostics, surgeries, and medicine to our patients.
The Cole Eye Center For Ophthalmic Bioinformatics is addressing the leading causes of blindness, which include age related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, retinal vein occlusions, glaucoma, and uveitis. These disorders are among the highest cause of blindness and unfortunately, none have a definitive treatment option for patients. Understanding presentations of these ophthalmic diseases, their risk factors, their prognosis for progression, and their optimal response to treatment through bioinformatics processes in an important step at improving the lives of our patients.
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. It combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyze and interpret information. The primary goal of bioinformatics is to increase the understanding of biological processes. This unique approach allows physicians and researcher to focus on developing and applying computationally intensive techniques to ultimately achieve the goal of improving patient outcomes through data analysis. Examples of this groundbreaking data include: pattern recognition, data mining, machine learning algorithms, and visualization.
The completion of the human genome sequence early in the 21st century marked the beginning of a new era of biological research. Since that time, life sciences research has generated an explosion of big data, with biology becoming an increasingly quantitative science. Computational approaches, in combination with experimental methods, have become essential for generating novel hypotheses, deriving new scientific knowledge, and driving discovery and innovation. Sophisticated database systems and data mining tools have been developed to manage and analyze the data. Bioinformatics now entails the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data.
A core feature to any successful research program is the ability to collect and collate large amounts of patient data. As the chief architect behind the electronic medical record (EMR) system for ophthalmic care, Rishi Singh, MD, created the ability to search and collate patient data with a few clicks of the mouse. Before EMRs were implemented at Cole Eye Institute, compiling data for clinical studies and making assessments of drug and surgical outcomes could take weeks or months. Now, this process can now be performed in a matter of minutes. It is his tireless works on the system that has led to Cole Eye being recognized nationwide as a leader in EMR.
Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute is poised to be the leader in Ophthalmic Bioinformatics for many reasons. We have an innovative Chairman, Daniel F. Martin, MD, who has empowered and encouraged the entire Cole Eye Institute. We are one of the largest databases of ophthalmic patients in the country that currently serves over 300,000 patients per year. Cole Eye’s informatics team has dedicated research fellows as well as cross collaborative efforts with the Lerner Research Institute and other outside public and private entities. The Center for Ophthalmic Bioinformatics creates a common focus while implementing aggressive goals that would transform the way that eye is cared for around the world.
Led by a world-renowned team, the Center for Ophthalmic Bioinformatics is comprised of a multidisciplinary team consisting of physician experts, research assistants, post-doctoral fellows, and operations and administrative staff. This revolutionary center will lead novel discoveries into the etiology of this disease and foster new therapies and treatment of this disease and reduce blindness in these patients. The following are the activities that have already transpired and positioned the Cole Eye Institute to establish the Cole Eye Center for Ophthalmic Bioinformatics:
- Established a ‘data mart’ housing all patient discrete and non-discrete information
- Providing an easy-to-use environment for individual application scientists themselves to create their own data queries
- Working with partners to develop key components of the informatics core including natural language processing, machine learning, and pattern recognition
- Cooperated with industry to model patient data from clinical trials to key factors for treatment outcomes and to better understand disease progression
- Improving methods for capturing of ophthalmic outcomes across all specialties
Center for Ophthalmic Bioinformatics Staff Members
Rishi P. Singh, MD, Director
Amy Babiuch, MD, Principal Investigator
Sumit Sharma, MD, Principal Investigator
Katherine Talcott, MD, Principal Investigator
Thais Conti, Research Fellow
Grant Hom, Research Fellow