Informatics and Data Science Program (IDS)

Informatics and Data Science Program (IDS)

Our work at IDS lays the foundation for many of NCI’s biomedical informatics and data science initiatives, giving cancer researchers (like you) the resources you need to use data more efficiently and effectively.

Our program consists of three branches: the Clinical & Translational Research Informatics Branch, the Data Ecosystems Branch, and the Computational Genomics & Bioinformatics Branch.

NCI’s Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC) just reached a significant milestone! Read about the CRDC in a four-part series commemorating the first 10 years of this important initiative.

Find Out What We Do

Clinical & Translational Research Informatics Branch (CTRIB)

Branch Chief: Umit Topaloglu, Ph.D.

At CTRIB, we’re working on new ways to use informatics across NCI, NIH, and the cancer research community. Our goal is to speed the translation of data-driven research into clinical practice. In particular, we’re focusing on:

Promoting Precision Medicine. We’re developing tools and pipelines that someday will help clinicians diagnose cancer early in the course of disease (when it’s highly treatable). We’re also helping develop new ways of predicting the best treatment for the best outcome for each person with cancer.

Capturing and Managing Data. We’re working on streamlining how researchers capture and report data from NCI-sponsored precision medicine trials and clinical trials. We’re also helping to advance the use of Real-World Data (RWD) from Electronic Health Records (EHRs). We’re identifying and addressing gaps in EHR data pipelines, establishing criteria for informatic tools to support quality RWD, and advancing reliable research methods.

Making Data Useful. We’re working to make certain the data you generate are useful to others in the cancer research field. We do this by developing and maintaining semantic resources and vocabularies.

Data Ecosystems Branch (DEB)

Branch Chief: Tanja Davidsen, Ph.D.

Our work at DEB centers on building, strengthening, and maintaining the infrastructure and tools that make up a sophisticated data ecosystem. We’re especially working on:

Fostering Collaboration. We work closely with other government agencies, industry, and academia to stay abreast of the latest in technology. This ensures we’re tapping the latest resources and most novel ideas for cancer research, especially in the areas of informatics, high-performance computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Setting Standards. We also work closely with international coordinating bodies to make certain that we keep pace with the latest data standards. We promote FAIR (i.e., Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data principles, and ensure that data adhere to NIH’s Data Management and Sharing policy.

Sharing Resources. We’re centralizing resources, such as software and training, to help others (at NCI and the broader cancer research field) access and use data. This includes looking at new ways of working with data—both in the cloud and locally, using technologies such as federated learning and edge computing.

Computational Genomics & Bioinformatics Branch (CGBB)

Branch Chief: Daoud Meerzaman, Ph.D.

At CGBB, we help solve research problems. Our staff offer skills and expertise to others (at NCI, NIH, and in the broader research community) to develop new bioinformatic and computational-genomics tools. We’re focused on:

Advancing Research. We’re using the latest tools and technologies—such as proteogenomic approaches for sequencing and interpreting genomic, transcriptomics, and proteomic data—to advance cancer research.

Developing Tomorrow’s Technology. Our team also is working to develop and implement new approaches, such as AI, machine learning, and algorithms, to find better ways of using data (e.g., genomic, proteomic, and imaging) to predict, diagnose, and treat cancer.

Education and Training. We’re fostering the next generation of researchers and fellows through a robust training program. We also coordinate webinars and seminars, featuring renowned experts in the biomedical and technology fields, who share their insight and skills in bioinformatics and computational-genomics tools.

Get Information on Our Projects

We lead many data science, informatics, and computational initiatives, including: