Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz

RESEARCH UNITS

Research Unit "EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) Review Center"

The Research Unit "EBM Review Center" was established on August 1st, 2009. Prof. Andrea Siebenhofer-Kroitzsch was appointed as the head of the Research Unit.

On January 1st, 2015, the IAMEV was established, which is now the central institution for general medicine and the "EBM Review Center".

The declared intention of the Research Unit is the compilation of systematic review work and meta-analyses concerning specific medical questions. The conclusions will not only be a basis for therapeutic decisions in health care, health technology assessments, disease-management programs and guidelines, but will also support active medical professionals with their diagnostic and therapeutic decisions and serve as a basis for the compilation of patient information. Fundamental missions are also the enhancement of methods for the assessment of studies in terms of methodic basic research as well as education and training (SSM Evidence Based Medicine in Practice).

Contact: Klaus Jeitler

Research Unit "Human-Computer Interaction for Medicine & Health Care (HCI4MED)"

One of the grand challenges in our networked world are the large, complex, and often weakly structured data sets. These increasingly monstrous amounts of data require new, efficient and user-friendly solutions for knowledge discovery. This challenge is most evident in the field of Biomedicine: the trend towards personalized medicine has resulted in an explosion in the amount of generated medical data.

With the increasing expectations of end-users, traditional approaches for data interpretation often can not keep pace with the demands, deliver unsatisfactory results or imply the danger of modeling artifacts. To cope with this growing flood of data, new computational user-centered approaches are vital.

The Research Unit "Human-Computer Interaction for Medicine and Health" works consistently on a synergistic combination of methodologies and approaches of two areas that offer ideal conditions towards solving these challenges: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Knowledge Discovery from Data (KDD), with the goal of supporting human intelligence with machine intelligence - to discover new, previously unknown insights.

As part of this effort, the International Network of Excellence "HCI+KDD" was founded in Graz during a session of the "USAB 2011 - Information Quality in e-Health" conference; organized by the Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation. For more information see: http://www.hci4all.at.

Contact: Andreas Holzinger

Research Unit "Statistical Bioinformatics (StatBInf)"

The Research Unit "Statistical Bioinformatics" was established on 1st December 2012, with Prof. Michael G. Schimek, DPhil, PhD as the chair. It covers a new academic specialisation and in 2012 it was one of the first of its kind internationally.

The Research Unit "Statistical Bioinformatics", at the interface of biostatistics and bioinformatics, is part of a worldwide academic network and collaborates closely with clinical and biological researchers.

The past two decades have seen the advent of what is now called "omics"-technologies, laboratory procedures that have revolutionised the life sciences. The genomewide quantification of gene expression by microarrays and by Next Generation Sequencing (transcriptomics), the analysis of proteins and protein mixtures using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (proteomics), and the profiling of metabolytes within cells by mass spectrometry (metabolomics) are currently widely used laboratory technologies that are of specific interest in the StatBInf group. The challenges are to keep pace with new biotechnologies and to cope with enormous amounts of data (big data) from different sources. We are equipped to provide the advanced statistical methods and highly efficient computer techniques which will be required. In the past, before the research unit was launched, statistical tools were produced, implemented, and applied for various array techniques. Now, the focus is on statistical aspects of Next Generation Sequencing, especially concerning problems of normalisation and inference in the post-alignment analysis. For several years, another emphasis has been on methods for the statistical integration (data fusion) of "omics"-data, especially by means of rank-based techniques. For that purpose the open source software package TopKLists was developed. Its latest version can be found on CRAN. There is also a TopKLists homepage with a tutorial (an R vignette) and a show case analysing miRNA measurements from different studies. The Research Unit StatBInf produces also other software tools in R (compatible with the Bioconductor project) for established, as well as new, statistical and graphical techniques.

StatBInf is also organising international scientific conferences such as the ISNPS Meeting "Biosciences, Medicine, and novel Non-Parametric Methods" in Graz 2015. Prof. Schimek is responsible for the teaching of bioinformatics at the MUG, and for the supervision of doctoral students and post docs in this research domain. For this group a "privatissimum" is offered. As visiting or honorary professor he is teaching biostatistics and biocomputing at several other universities.

The collaborative research is closely associated with the MUG Research Field "Cancer" and comprises the support of the local leukaemia research group. Onco Track is another collaboration partner. New collaborations with biomedical institutions (academic or industrial), such as CBmed, also outside the scope of cancer research, are always welcome (see contact information).

Contact: Michael G. Schimek
 
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