Center for Dental Informatics

Contact: Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD: For immediate release (12/05/2006)

Center for Dental Informatics to Develop an Online Research Community for an $83.5 Million National Institutes of Health Grant

Pittsburgh, Dec. 5 – Over the next five years, the Center for Dental Informatics (CDI) at the School of Dental Medicine will be taking part in an $83.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to establish the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

The purpose of the CTSI is to foster the development of clinical and translational research as a distinct field and promote the application of biomedical research advances into clinical practice. Clinical translational bioinformatics is one of several focuses of the CTSI and the CDI will contribute to that effort by developing an Online Research Community (ORC). Dr. Titus Schleyer, director of the CDI, is principal investigator for the ORC.

Dr. Schleyer explains, "The Online Research Community will provide our researchers with a feature-rich collaborative electronic infrastructure. Our goal is to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of research within our university."

The proposed ORC will be an electronic infrastructure that is expected to transform communication, information sharing and access to education by cultivating an easily accessible, user-centered community. The ORC will feature a variety of useful resources such as people and project directories, a research opportunities exchange, a publications archive, news, a career development center, a learning center, a collaborative tool center and much more.

The concept of the ORC builds upon a recent project sponsored by the National Library of Medicine’s extramural research funding program. The global Dental Informatics Online Community (DIOC) was designed to support the formation of collaborations by making information about researchers, projects, resources and opportunities available by providing mechanisms to inform community members about developments in dental informatics.

Dr. Heiko Spallek, principal investigator for the DIOC and assistant professor in the CDI adds, “Based on our work on the Dental Informatics Online Community, we will provide the researchers with directories allowing them to find appropriate research partners based on interests and prior publications. We also will provide individually customized information. For instance, when a new member enters his/her research interests, the ORC will automatically list other members with similar interests and related projects."