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ii logoCCTS Informatics provides the infrastructure and services to support biomedical research across the translational spectrum, including assistance with research study design, provision of preliminary data, tools to support clinical, translational, and outcomes research, and data analytic services.

Services & Tools

Bioinformatics Services - Tools and Support:

CCTS Bioinformatics provides data and analytic support for the following:
• Next Generation Sequence Analysis
• Microarray Analysis
• Data Storage/Safety
For one-on-one bioinformatics consultations, contact the Research Commons, ccts@uab.edu, 205.934.7442

Clinical Informatics Services - Tools and Support:

The CCTS Clinical Informatics Services includes access to clinical data from the UAB Health System electronic health records and directly through i2b2 to support:
• Planning clinical research study feasibility
• Assist with clinical research study design and implementation
• Assistance with clinical research subject enrollment
• Enterprise Data Warehousing Initiative
• Support for clinical data collection and access
• Reuse of existing data to answer new research questions


James J. Cimino, MD
UAB Informatics Institute
James J. Cimino, M.D., is the inaugural director of the Informatics Institute in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The institute was established by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System in June 2014. Cimino, who previously was the chief of the Laboratory for Informatics Development at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center and a senior scientist at the National Library of Medicine, is a national leader in the burgeoning field of biomedical informatics. He is one of the few informaticians in the prestigious Institute of Medicine and co-editor of the most influential textbook on informatics, Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine, Fourth Edition.
Jake Y. Chen, PhD
Chief Bioinformatics Officer & Associate Director
UAB Informatics Institute
Professor of Genetics
Dr. Chen, trained as a computer scientist from the University of Minnesota and a molecular biologist from Peking University, has more than 20 years of bioinformatics R&D experience. He is an internationally recognized expert in biological data mining, computational systems biology, and translational bioinformatics. His research focuses on building quantitative biomolecular systems models from genomic and clinical big data, thus helping understand, simulate, and predict complex disease biology outcomes. As the Chief Bioinformatics Officer, he oversees the development and execution of informatics strategic plans that enhance bioinformatics research, service, training, and outreach at UAB Medicine. He is also an entrepreneur who is passionate about making emerging biomedical data easy to use by growing Medicine 2.0 stakeholders.
Elliot J. Lefkowitz, PhD
Director of CCTS Informatics
Professor of Microbiology
Dr. Lefkowitz is a professor in the Department of Microbiology. His research focuses on the genomics and evolution of microorganisms, especially viruses;  the development and use of bioinformatics tools and techniques to support genomics research; and the provision of informatics support across the full spectrum of biomedical research. In addition to serving as Director of Informatics for the CCTS, he is also Director of Bioinformatics for the UAB Center for AIDS Research, and Director of Bioinformatics for the UAB Microbiome Facility.
Eta S. Berner, EdD
Dr. Berner is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Medical Informatics Association, the External Scientific Panel for NHGRI’s Emerge Network and the Technical Expert Panel for the AHRQ Clinical Decision Support Initiative.  She is responsible for the development and oversight of CCTS Informatics educational activities and works with others at UAB to oversee and develop policies concerning consent and governance issues surrounding the use of clinical data for research.
Geoff Gordon, MSEE
Mr. Gordon is an IT Director for the Health System Information Services division of UAB Health System, responsible for Web Development and the Enterprise Data Warehousing Initiative.  He has been working in clinical analytics for the past 3 years and has over 20 years of software development experience, 15 in healthcare.
James H. Willig, MD, MSPH
Dr. Willig is the Medical Informatics Director of the UAB 1917 AIDS Clinic, Co-Director of the UAB HIV-Research and Informatics Service Center, and Director of Clinical Informatics for the UAB Health System Information Services. He also serves as the physician lead for the Clinical Data Warehouse Research Working Group. His own research involves the development and use of informatics tools and methods to support patient care, especially for patients living with HIV.
Matthew Wyatt, MSHI
Assistant Director
Mr. Wyatt provides operational management for all aspects of Informatics day-to-day activities. He is responsible for oversight of institutional collaborative projects including those related to clinical data warehousing, clinical data capture at the point of care, and clinical data extraction.
Keith Bobitt
Senior System Analyst
Mr. Bobitt is a Senior System Analyst and Java developer. He is developing systems to extract data from i2b2 and VDW based Clinical Data Warehouses for cohort discovery and Java based software for direct database access of VDW systems and RESTful web interface access of i2b2 systems.
David K. Crossman, PhD

Dr. Crossman is an Instructor in the Department of Genetics. He directs the Bioinformatics Facility at the Heflin Center for Human Genetics and is responsible for the initial processing and analysis of Next-Gen Sequencing data obtained for Genomics’ Illumina sequencers. He provides CCTS investigators with expertise in microarray analysis, Next-Gen Sequencing analysis, mass spectrometry proteomics analysis, and Systems Biology pathway analysis.
Don Dempsey, MS
Mr. Dempsey is a web and Java developer who is responsible for the development of many of our web-based applications and databases. This includes working with clinical and translational researchers to create data capture forms and clinical, outcomes, and bioinformatics databases; assisting researchers with analysis and extraction of data from the Clinical Data Warehouse; developing new clinical and bioinformatics tools; and specific programming needed to develop the tools and systems supporting the needs of individual investigators.
Curtis Hendrickson
Research Associate
Mr. Hendrickson provides expertise in data collection, integration, and reporting. This includes scientific database design, implementation, and support, as well as in web site design, web application development, and project management. He also supports a variety of bioinformatics-related services including Next-Gen Sequencing analysis, detection of sequence variants, and detection of gene regulatory motifs.
John Osborne, MS
Research Associate
Mr. Osborne works with clinical and translational researchers to create data capture forms and clinical, outcomes, and bioinformatics databases; assists researchers with analysis and extraction of data from the data warehouses; and works extensively with UAB investigators on the analysis of Next-Gen Sequencing data derived from patients enrolled in clinical research studies. He also develops new approaches and applications to support the extraction of clinical information from free-text records in order to store that information in structured database fields.
Liam Van Der Pol, MS
Bioinformation II
Mr. Van Der Pol received his Masters degree in Bioinformatics in 2013 from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.  For his Master’s thesis he worked on a project building a transcriptome for Wolbachia. This project sought to examine the genes being expressed by the bacterial parasite Wolbachia post-infection in the model organism host D. melanogaster, by purifying prokaryotic RNA from host tissue and sequencing with Illumina RNA-seq then assembling transcripts with the Trinity assembler. Mr. Van Der Pol is responsible for providing bioinformatics support to CCTS investigators.  He supports other bioinformatics team members by providing consults to investigators and working with other CCTS informatics personnel to ensure that the needs of investigators are met. He also manages the UAB Galaxy installation and the use of high performance computing resources to support bioinformatics analysis.
Dale Johnson, MS
Senior System Analyst

Mr. Johnson is a Data Warehouse Developer III responsible for the development of i2b2 as part of the Enterprise Data Warehouse infrastructure. His is responsible for the development and maintenance of custom loading for UAB clinical data into i2b2 as well as preparing UAB’s i2b2 instance(s) for SHRINE and PCORnet participation. Mr. Johnson has BS and MS degrees in computer science and has worked in IT as an instructor and software developer for 30 years. His primary strengths are Oracle database programming and web development. He has more than 16 years of experience with Oracle databases and Oracle PL/SQL programming and 9 years of experience with medical information systems. He has been with UAB since 2006, working on the UAB Oracle administrative workflow team, and now CCTS.  


A number of UAB departments offer courses that provide extensive opportunities for informatics education. Course descriptions can be found in the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Department of Biostatistics

  • BST 675 Introduction to Statistical Genetics
  • BST 676 Statistical Bioinformatics

Department of Computer and Information Sciences

  • CS640 Bioinformatics I
  • CS641 Bioinformatics II

Department of Genetics

Department of Health Services Administration

  • M.S. Health Informatics (MSHI)
  • HI 600 Analysis and Design of Health Information Systems
  • HI 601 Databases and Data Modeling
  • HI 602 Clinical and Administrative Systems
  • HI 605 Communications and Networks
  • HI 612 Organizational Behavior and Leadership
  • HI 615 Decision Support Systems
  • HI 620 Security and Privacy in Health Care
  • HI 640 Introduction to Health Informatics and Health Care Delivery

School of Nursing

  • NUR 643 Introduction to Nursing Informatics
  • NUR 733 Informatics for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • NNI 621 Conceptual Basis for Informatics Practice
  • NNI 622 The Information System Life Cycle

Section on Statistical Genetics

  • NIGMS-Funded Short Courses
  • NHGRI Next Generation Sequencing Short Courses
  • Professional Development
  • Upcoming Seminars
  • Courses and Events Archive


In partnership with the other UAB entities, CCTS Informatics has been the driving force behind many of the institutional informatics changes that have occurred over the past five years. CCTS Informatics personnel are providing leadership for endeavors such as establishment of the UAB Informatics Working Group, use of Next-Generation Sequencing analytics, and the Enterprise Data Warehousing Initiative.

CCTS Informatics also serves as a link to informatics personnel and resources within our Partner Network. Our partners provide a wide range of services and have broad expertise in biomedical informatics and genomics. The available resources are always evolving and being expanded within this network, with each partner representing a potential collaborative site for investigators. These Partners include:

    Auburn University
    HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
    Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU)
    Pennington Biomedical Research Center
    Tulane University Health Services Center
    University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)
    University of South Alabama (USA)

Download a PDF of a current list of Informatics Experts and Expertise for CCTS Informatics at UAB and for CCTS Partners.

The primary informatics contacts for CCTS Partner Institutions are as follows:

Auburn University 

Eric Peatman, PhD
Associate Professor
Auburn University School of Fisheries
Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

203 Swingle Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
Lab (334) 844-4085
Office (334) 844-9319

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (HAIB)

Devin Absher, PhD
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
601 Genome Way NW
Huntsville, AL 35806
(256) 327-0400


Lucio Miele, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Director for Inter-Institutional Programs
Stanley Scott Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Campus
New Orleans, LA  70112
Phone:  (504) 210-3433

Chindo Hicks, PhD
LSU Health Sciences Campus
New Orleans, LA  70112

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU System
Ron Horswell, PhD
Director of Biomedical Informatics
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone 225-763-2737
Fax (HCSD): (225) 922-1502

Tulane University Health Services Center
Michelle R. Lacey, PhD
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA  70118
Phone:  (504) 862-3439

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
Elliot J. Lefkowitz, PhD
Professor, Department of Microbiology
Director of Informatics, Center for Clinical and Translational Science
Director, Molecular and Genetic Bioinformatics Facility, Center for AIDS Research
Director, Bioinformatics Core, Microbiome Facility
BBRB 276 
Birmingham, AL  35294-2170

Phone:  (205) 934-1946
Email:  ElliotL@uab.edu

University of South
Alabama (USA)

Raymond Langley, PhD
Department of Pharmacology
5851 USA North Drive; MSB 3370
Mobile, AL  36688
Phone:  (251) 460-6497