The Yale Center for Medical Informatics

Professor Perry Miller is Director of the Yale Center for Medical Informatics (YCMI) and of Yale's Biomedical Informatics research training program. Biomedical Informatics is a discipline at the intersection of biomedicine and the computing and information sciences. The field focuses on the creative application of computers in clinical medicine, biomedical research, and medical education. In clinical medicine, the growing use of computers in patient care, education, and research makes the field increasingly important. In biomedical research, informatics is rapidly becoming a critical component of virtually all bioscience fields.

Projects at the YCMI include major initiatives in clinical, neuro-, and genome informatics. In these projects, the YCMI collaborates with faculty and staff from many departments at Yale. Additional information is available at the YCMI web site.

Research Projects

  • Biomedical informatics research training. Since 1985, Dr. Miller has been Director of Yale's Biomedical Informatics Research Training Program, supported in part by the National Library of Medicine. This program currently supports trainees whose activities are roughly equally divided between clinical informatics and bioscience informatics.
  • Genomic and genetic informatics. Over the past 15 years, the YCMI has been involved in a number of projects involving genomics and genetics. An early project involved exploring the use of parallel computation in biological sequence analysis, genetic linkage analysis, and molecular dynamics, in collaboration with Prof. David Gelernter (Computer Science) and his colleagues. Another project provided Internet-based informatics support for a collaborative Genome Center involving the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yale to map human chromosome 12. Current projects include 1) developing and maintaining a variety of databases that are used actively within the laboratory of Dr. Kenneth Kidd (Genetics), 2) working with Dr. Michael Snyder to develop and refine databases for a) yeast gene expression data and b) yeast proteome chip data, and tools to help analyze that data, and 3) working with several groups to provide University-wide informatics support for microarray experiments. Dr. Kei Cheung (Assistant Professor, YCMI) plays a central role in many of these activities.
  • Neuroinformatics. Dr. Miller directs the informatics components of a collaborative Program Project involving Drs. Gordon Shepherd (Neurobiology), Michael Hines (Computer Science), and Prakash Nadkarni (YCMI), supported as part of the national Human Brain Project. The project is developing informatics support for neuroscience research and computer-based neural simulation using the olfactory system as a model system.
  • Informatics in support of clinical research. Since 1996, the YCMI has had a major project to develop, refine, and use Trial/DB, a client-server, Web-accessible database designed to support clinical research projects. Trial/DB is currently being used for a growing number of clinical trials and clinical research projects at Yale. It is also supported by two cooperative grants to Dr. Prakash Nadkarni (Associate Professor, YCMI): a) to serve as the special studies database for the NCI's multisite Cancer Genetics Network, and b) to help support the NIH's multisite Pharmacogenetics Network. Dr. Cynthia Brandt (Assistant Professor, YCMI) also plays a central role in many phases of this project.
  • The PathMaster cell image database. Dr. Miller directs a collaborative research contract from the National Library of Medicine to build a database of cell images indexed by computationally-derived descriptors, implemented using parallel computation, as a testbed to explore desirable Next Generation Internet capabilities.
  • Clinical informatics activities. The YCMI is also involved in a number of collaborative clinical informatics activities. A longstanding research activity has involved the development of programs which bring computer-based advice to the practicing clinician. One current project directed by Dr. Richard Shiffman (Associate Director, YCMI) involves developing GEM (Guideline Elements Model), an XML-based standard to help organize the creation and use of clinical practice guidelines. Another recent clinical informatics project involves Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) which offer a lightweight, mobile platform that can be used at the point-of-care.