The Biomedical Informatics and Cyberinfrastructure Enhancement Core offers the following services and support to Rhode Island investigators. These are done in coordination with the COBRE CBHD Computational Biology Core, Computing and Information Services, and Brown University Library:

A signature effort is the Unified Research data Sharing and Access (URSA) Initiative. The overall goal of the URSA Initiative is to make data accessible and usable for research purposes by the Advance-CTR community through establishment of a shared technical infrastructure and common processes. This initiative is coordinated by the Brown Center for Biomedical Informatics (BCBI) that operates the Advance-CTR Biomedical Informatics Core in close collaboration with information services, compliance programs, and research offices at Brown and Advance-CTR data partners: Lifespan, Care New England, Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), and Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). For sensitive data, URSA utilizes the Stronghold server system at Brown (“URSA Stronghold”), which offers a secure computing environment for storing and analyzing data.

Data Requests 

Facilitate requesting, accessing, and using data from health data partners and other data sources.

Local data sources include:

Publicly accessible data sources include (* local version available):

Data Storage and Management

Identify options and solutions for storing and managing data from health data partners or other data sources. This includes use of the URSA Stronghold computing environment for sensitive data, database management systems (e.g., MySQL), and established data standards.

Data Processing and Analysis

Use or develop computational tools for processing (including de-identifying) and analyzing data from diverse sources. This includes using open-source languages (e.g., R and Julia) for:

  • Data Mining, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

  • Natural Language Processing

  • Visualization

Expertise with bioinformatics tools such as Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) is also provided.

Data Submission and Dissemination

Support archiving, sharing, and disseminating research products using best practices and available resources (e.g., Brown Digital Repository).

Software Requests 

Offer guidance in available software to support project needs and facilitate installation of software in research computing environments such as URSA Stronghold.

Software and Application Development

Provide programming support for custom development for creation and analysis of custom datasets or databases (e.g., using Julia and MySQL) or web applications (e.g., using React/Node.js or SMART on FHIR).

Grant Support

Offer guidance for projects requiring informatics and data science expertise, with a focus on support for developing extramural or pilot project applications.


Provide training sessions related to offered services as well as other informatics and data science topics (e.g., computer programming and databases) to complement existing full-semester and short immersion courses.