Biomedical Informatics is broadly defined as the "interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health" (Kulikowski et al., 2012). 

The overarching research goals of BCBI are to develop, deploy, and evaluate computational and data science approaches to best use biomedical and health data for improving patient care. To this end, our research activities are a major application area for programs such as those within Brown’s Data Science Initiative. Specific areas of research emphasis at BCBI are:

Translational Bioinformatics

There is significant need for analytic approaches to advance understanding of the molecular underpinnings of disease and enable such insights to be used within clinical contexts. BCBI is developing translational bioinformatics approaches for incorporating deep biological knowledge into clinical practice. These efforts aim to complement synergistic research programs at Brown, including those being led by the Center for Computational Molecular Biology (CCMB).

Clinical Informatics

Concomitant with the widespread adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems within the healthcare data ecosystem, there is an opportunity to transform the practice of medicine through effective use of digital data. Within BCBI, the Clinical Informatics Research and Discovery (CIRD) Laboratory is studying and using EHR data from clinical partners (focusing initially on partnerships with Care New England and Lifespan Health System, with plans to also partner with the Providence VA Medical Center) for supporting clinical practice as well as research programs.

Public Health Informatics

The emergence of health information exchanges and population level monitoring systems presents an unprecedented opportunity to develop computational approaches for studying healthcare delivery and quantifying the impact of healthcare reform initiatives. In partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health, Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), and Rhode Island Department of Health (RI DOH), informatics approaches are being developed to support research motivated by State needs.