Informatics Program

Mission

The Informatics Program supports biomedical and clinical informatics needs of WF investigators by providing expert guidance, informatics tools, programming support, and management of WF’s Translational Data Warehouse. The Informatics Program will increase the use of electronic health record (EHR) data for clinical and translational research and maximize the impact of research on health through an integrated CTSA informatics network.

Related Resources 

Leadership

Metin Gurcan, PhD
Program Leader

Brian Wells, MD, PhD
Associate Program Leader

Umit Topaloglu, PhD
Associate Program Leader

Stephen M. Downs, MD
Associate Program Leader

Informatics Team

 Brian Ostasiewski

Brian Ostasiewski

Informatics Program Director

Brian Ostasiewski joined Wake Forest in 2010.  In addition to leading the Informatics Team, he has been responsible for creating the Translational Data Warehouse (TDW) and improving research opportunities with data. He heads the Clinical Research Network (CRN) Program, facilitating multi-site research with partner institutions. Within the Center for Biomedical Informatics (WFBMI), he runs the Summer Internship program which yearly recruits up to 16 students to work on Informatics projects. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Brian had programming and technical lead roles at IBM, GE, Noregon, and two startups, one involved in network security and the other in 3D radiology imaging and structured reporting.

 Programming Team

Michael Horvath

Programming Team Lead

 Michael joined Wake Forest in 2010 and is the Lead Programmer on the Informatics Team. He oversees the design and architecture of software applications by the team as well as leads efforts to expand and improve the TDW and its related tools and content with a particular focus on clinical terminology standards and ontologies.  He was instrumental in the initial implementation of the Translational Data Warehouse at Wake Forest as well as the national pilot for the first Shrine based data sharing network.  Michael received his bachelors and masters degrees in Computer Science from Wake Forest.

Michael Horvath
Arnav Bhandari

Arnav Bhandari

Programmer/Analyst

Arnav Bhandari earned his Masters of Science in Computer Science from Wake Forest in August 2019, and joined the Informatics Team in September 2019. His work has focused on utilizing Natural Language Processing (NLP) to solve problems and create new research tools and data processing pipelines. His focus has been on the Search Kibana Accessible Notes (S.K.A.N.) system that makes de-identified clinical notes available to researchers. He also works on Named Entity Recognition and extracting supplemental information for inclusion in the TDW. In addition to NLP, his interests include Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

 

Irina Viviano

Programmer/Analyst

 Irina joined the Informatics Team in early 2020. She works to support the research mission by providing tools and data to researchers with a particular focus on enhancing the self-service capabilities of the TDW. Her background is in Math and Computer Science, and received her MS in Computer Science from Wake Forest.

Irina Viviano
Ginny Lawson

Virginia Lawson

Data Analyst

 Ginny joined the Informatics Team in 2019 after completing her Master's degree in Health Informatics. She creates interactive, dynamic dashboards that allow users to better visualize and more effectively engage with healthcare data. She enjoys simplifying complex data for users and providing researchers and administrators with data insights that help to monitor progress of healthcare research programs and initiatives.

 Database Team

 Aaron Bridges

Aaron Bridges

Database Team Lead

 Aaron joined the Informatics team in 2019.  He is responsible for leading the Database Team and specializes in data extraction, ETL processes, and providing data and support for various research initiatives.  Aaron holds nine Epic certifications specific to the Clarity and Caboodle data models. He also has over 10 years of experience in Healthcare Data Management within various Reporting/Analytics roles. 

Kobby Sekyere

Database Programmer

Kobby is a Programmer on the Informatics Team.  He works on data requests and projects as well as builds applications and tools for the department and researchers. He has been working with healthcare systems and data for 3+ years. 
Kobby Sekyere
Kun Wei

Kun Wei

Database Programmer

 Kun Wei’s work focuses on the CRN Program.  He plays the primary role in the data extraction, transform, and load (ETL) of Common Data Models such as PCORnet from the TDW, EPIC EHR, and other clinical systems.  He is a certified EPIC Clarity developer and also works with researchers to craft pseudocode models and generate feasibility analyses for clinical trials and run study queries, using SQL and SAS.

Wendell Futrell

Database Programmer

Wendell has more than 18 years programming and application development experience.  He has been involved in end-to-end report development, building stored procedures across multiple database technologies for internal and external clients. Additionally, Wendell served in the United States Marine Corp for 5 1/2 years working in two American Embassies demonstrating responsibility and dependability. His current primary responsibility is building TDW ETL processes. Wendell is a certified Clarity Report Writer and interacts directly with clients to understand and clarify their data requirements. 

Wendell Futrell

 Project Management Team

Larisa Rodgers

Project Management Team Lead

Larisa joined Wake Forest in 2020 and leads the informatics project management team. She manages Wake’s participation in STAR and other Clinical Research Networks, supporting Wake’s vision of promoting better health through collaboration, excellence and innovation. Larisa is also working closely with WFBMI on the creation and management of educational opportunities, tools, and funding. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Larisa held program management roles at the Duke Clinical Research Institute/Duke Forge and at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Health Informatics Program. 

Larisa Rodgers
Laya Mohan

Laya Mohan

Associate Project Manager


Laya Mohan earned her Master of Arts in Health Communication from Wake Forest in May 2020, and joined the Informatics Team as an Associate Project Manager the following fall. Laya works in tandem with WFBMI, marketing and managing various core faculty projects, courses, and research under this umbrella. In addition, she works with Informatics Team programmers to market and inform Wake Forest researchers of newly developed tools and resources to enhance their research. Laya also coordinates with external researchers for collaboration, brings guest speakers to lecture, and plans large scale events within the Center.

Stephanie Varela

Associate Project Manager


Stephanie has been with Wake Forest since 2018. Prior to joining the Informatics Team, she was a Study Coordinator with the Urology department. Stephanie received her undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Since graduating she has worked in several positions as research support staff. She currently supports project management of data requests and supports Wake Forest researchers with their data related needs. 

Stephanie Varela

 Infrastructure Team

 William Ford

William Ford

Infrastructure Team Lead 

Will joined in 2018 as a developer with the informatics team.  He maintains several of our web applications including i2b2 and ACT, acts as a technical liaison and data broker for partner networks, web developer, and system administrator for our Windows and Linux servers.  His interests include operations management and site reliability engineering. Will earned his MBA from Wake Forest University.