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Research Commons

CCTS Informatics provides the resources and expertise (both bioinformatics and clinical informatics) to support biomedical collaboration and consultation across the translational research spectrum. We offer help with study design; access to summary, limited (de-identified), and fully identified data sets; innovative tools to support clinical, translational, and outcomes research; and data analytic services. Our vision is to build a vibrant community of collaborating informaticians not only across the CCTS Hub with its academic medical system, but also across the regional CCTS Partner Network and national CTSA Consortium. 

  • Data Access and Support
      Analyst-faciliated Data Access i2b2 Self-Service TriNetX Research™ National COVID Cohort Collaboration (N3C) ACT Network One Florida+
    Data Type EHR, inclusively Significant* reflection
    of EHR structured data
    (e.g., labs, meds, diagnoses, procedures, billing codes and more)
    Limited Structured data (e.g., labs, meds, procedures, billings codes) Structured data related
    to COVID-19 (e.g., labs, meds, procedures, billing codes)
    Structured data (labs, meds, procedures, billings codes) EHR, inclusively 
    Who Can Access UAB Faculty and Staff CCTS based on IRB approval or policy UAB Faculty and Staff 
    CCTS Partners
    UAB Faculty and Staff UAB Faculty, Staff and ***participating Institutions UAB Faculty and Staff UAB Faculty and Staff
    Patient Population UAB Medicine UAB Medicine UAB + over 70 HCOs UAB + over 50 HCOs CCTS Partners (coming soon)  Select Health Systems in FL, GA and AL
    Results PHI / PII, HIPAA Limited Data (LDS)
    Aggregate Counts
    HIPAA Limited Data
    Aggregate Counts
    HIPAA Limited Data 
    Aggregate Counts
    HIPAA Limited Data Aggregate Counts Aggregate Counts  HIPAA Limited Data (LDS),
    Aggregate Counts
    Downloadable Yes (with assistance) Yes Yes (HIPAA LDS with approval) No Yes  Yes (with assistance)
    IRB Requirement Approved Investigator-initiated protocol if PHI or LDS **No individual IRB 
    Approval required
    Approved Investigator-
    initiated protocol for LDS
    Approved Investigator-initiated protocol **No individual IRB Approval required Approved Investigator-initiated protocol required 
    Cost to Use CCTS/Informatics Instituted Supported; Budget in grants CCTS/Informatics
    Institute Supported
    Free preparatory to research; Budget in
    No Charge CCTS/Informatics
    Institute Supported
    Determined by project scope 
      Log in to DataLENS
    ACT Network
    One Florida+
    Front Door

    EHR, Electronic Health Record; HCO, Healthcare Organization; PHI, Protected Health Information; PII, Personally identifiable information, HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; CTSA, Clinical and Translational Science Award(ee)

    *Fact types include allergy data, billed charges, biospecimen data, blood pressure, BMI and waist, cancer registry, clinical diagnosis, consult orders, diagnosis-related group (DRG), encounter insurance, encounter service, height, weight, immunizations, lab panels, lab powerplans, labs, medications, microbiology, select powernotes, problems, procedures (CPTs, ICD9/10), radiology events, social history, surgery data, etc.

    ** Permitted Users, covered entities, and any Authorized Party on User's behalf listed in (Research Title/Grant Title) may use i2b2 self-service Limited Data Sets only for the purposes which shall be limited to research, public health activities, and health care operations as defined in the HIPAA Privacy Rule (per IRB protocol E160105006)  and not for no other purpose.

    *** Institutions listed on the N3C website https://covid.cd2h.org/enclave_DUA_signatories

    For more complex data needs, including access to detailed data sets, investigators can submit a request to CCTS Informatics for support from an Electronic Data Warehouse (EDW) analyst.

  • National COVID-19 Cohort Collaborative (N3C)
    N3C is Open for Business. Learn How to Get Started.

    *Click here to review the latest N3C updates.

    The National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) has created a large, centralized data resource available to the research community to study COVID-19 at a scale and statistical power not possible within any single institution. N3C has assembled a standardized collection of clinical, laboratory and diagnostic data from hospital electronic health records and health care plans across the country for analysis within an accessible, cloud-based data enclave. Here is how you can get involved:

    • Secure IRB approval from your institution – submit a request for human subjects research exemption from your IRB (see template here). See also this example of the HIPAA Waiver Request
    • UAB Investigators, remember to connect your IRB approval request to the N3C research initiative. Here's how: The IRB EPortfolio contains this question: Does the project involve other agreements not identified by an OSP Assigned Number (e.g. Fee for Service)?“ Respond with text that includes the following information: " The N3C DUA corresponds to OSP# 000529456 and IRB-300005342, both led by CCTS Co-Director and UAB Informatics Institute Director, Dr. James Cimino.”
    • On-board with the N3C data enclave – register for membership (ORCID ID required) and gain access to workstreams (e.g., Collaborative Analytics) to share how-to’s and solutions.
    • Read the N3C Data User Code of Conduct.
    • Create an account to access the N3C Data Enclave.
    • Train Up! All users of the N3C Data Enclave are required to complete the 2020 Information Security, Counterintelligence, Privacy Awareness, Records Management Refresher, Emergency Preparedness Refresher. Users are also expected, but not required, to complete the Palantir Fundamentals training course available within an active N3C account.
    • Prepare Information to submit a Data Use Request (DUR). Guided by this template, a DUR will need to be completed online upon accessing the enclave, requiring upload of your IRB approval letter.​​​​​​​

    The DUR and IRB approval letter can be submitted to N3C once the DUA is signed by the University. In the meantime, CCTS Partner Institutions are establishing the requisite Data Use Agreements with N3C. Multiple CCTS partner institutions have signed data use agreements in place and investigators at those sites are eligible to analyze data in the enclave: Click to view the full list of institutions with active DUAs.

    Additional Resources:

    These domain teams offer disciplinary opportunities for physician scientists. Coding skills not required!
    N3C Fact Sheet
    Getting started powerpoint presentation.
    Access the N3C Helpdesk here.
    Access the N3C Support Desk here.
    Review the N3C Registration Checklist.
    Check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

    *On July 29th, CCTS and the UAB Informatics Institute hosted an N3C workshop aimed at preparing researchers to utilize this data resource. Access those presentation slides here. Recording of the event is available on the CCTS Video Channel.
  • Informatics-based Scientific Gateways

    Scientific Gateways are collaborative, multidisciplinary panel discussions – assembling expertise in informatics, design & methodology, and clinical investigation – to help investigators explore novel research directions. In partnership with the Center for Outcomes & Effectiveness Research, the CCTS supports two Scientific Gateway models dedicated to 1) ‘omics data analysis and 2) secondary clinical data analysis. To submit a project idea for consideration, fill in the relevant Informatics Gateway Request Form below or contact CCTS Research Commons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 205-996-4478. 

    Bioinformatics 'omics' Scientific Gateway

    Clinical Informatics Scientific Gateway
    Navigate to "Concept Proposals & Data Requests Tab – Submit a Concept Proposal"
  • Bioinformatics
    CCTS Bioinformatics provides data and analytic support for the following:
    • Next Generation Sequence Analysis
    • Microarray analysis
    • Microbiome
    • Data storage, management, and sharing plans
    • Southeast SHRINE Consortium
    • Educational tools and programs
  • Clinical Research Informatics
    CCTS Clinical Research Informatics provides access to clinical data in the UAB Health System electronic health record to support:
    • Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) Initiative
    • Data access and exchange (via i2b2, SHRINE, and EDW analysts)
    • Subject recruitment and retention tools—cohort feasibility, subject identification (with IRB approval), clinical phenotype
    • Design and implementation of clinical research studies and secondary data analyses
    • Targeting clinical trial opportunities (TriNetX)
    • Informatics research (UAB Informatics Institute)
    • Data science for population insights and "big data" integration
    National Data Platform for Clinical Research Informatics

    The All of Us Program opened the Researcher Workbench and is inviting researchers to apply for access to explore the initial dataset and tools. The Researcher Workbench is a secure, cloud-based platform that offers researchers an opportunity to execute rapid, hypothesis-driven research and build new methods for the future.
  • Informatics Training
    CCTS Informatics offers multiple opportunities throughout the year for investigators interested in learning more about informatics.  Training events range from those to provide a general overview of concepts and to use informatics platforms (e.g., i2b2) to understand the language to deeper exploration of principles to develop competency and expertise.


Jennifer Croker, PhD
Sr. Administrative Director, CCTS