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The Wright Center is here to help with your research resolutions

Last year did not go as planned for anyone. But 2021 will slowly, we hope, bring a return to the new normal in our professional lives.

If more or better health-related research at VCU is one of your 2021 resolutions, the Wright Center can help. Find your research resolution below and see how.

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Wright Center events bring together VCU research leaders, health care providers and research professionals on timely topics.

Upcoming events include:

Bookmark the Wright Center’s calendar and make sure you’re signed up for the regular newsletter to be alerted of more upcoming events.

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The Wright Center’s funding opportunities include a few with upcoming deadlines:

  • The Endowment Fund for grant to individuals and small groups of investigations has a Feb. 1 deadline for its up-to-$50,000 award.
  • The Pilot Imaging Fund for grants up to $25,000 is accepting applications until Feb. 21 from investigators looking to use the Wright Center’s Collaborative Advanced Research Imaging (CARI) facility.
  • And the Clinical Research Voucher Program has a rolling deadline for investigators looking for funding to use VCU Health clinical research facilities and services.

Find more funding opportunities at the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation’s website and in RAMS-SPOT.

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Request access to a cohort discovery program that helps investigators test feasibility and collaborate with other institutions.

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Through the Wright Center, you can access Protocol Builder, a secure, cloud-based technology that helps investigators write interventional or observational research protocols. Find links and resources on protocol development. Read More

VCU joins the TriNetX Health Research Network

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 24, 2017 – Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has joined the TriNetX health research network, which is comprised of healthcare organizations representing over 84 million patients globally, biopharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations (CROs) who are working together to improve protocol design, site selection, patient recruitment, and collaborative research across a range of therapeutic areas and development stages.  As a member, VCU will leverage the network to support cohort discovery, facilitate cross-institutional research collaborations and increase industry-funded clinical trial opportunities for the health system.

“We see membership on the TriNetX network as an opportunity to help facilitate an increase in clinical trials from biopharma and CROs, as well as remove some of the barriers associated with investigator-initiated multi-site collaborative research,” said Tim Aro, Manager of Clinical Research Informatics at Virginia Commonwealth University’s C. Kenneth and Diane Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Utilizing TriNetX’s cloud-based, health research platform, members can analyze patient populations with search criteria across multiple longitudinal data points, and TriNetX’s advanced analytics modules provide intelligence on which criteria have the most impact as well as the rate at which new patients present. Each data point in the TriNetX network can be traced to healthcare organizations who have the ability to identify individual patients, allowing clinical researchers to develop virtual patient cohorts that can be found in real-world clinical trial settings. Patients can be discovered for industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated studies, as well as for collaboration with peer research institutions. Data in the TriNetX network is fully de-identified to the user.

“To help support VCU’s strategic initiatives around cohort discovery and advances in precision medicine, we needed a searchable and extensible local data structure that included oncology and genomic data,” said Aro.  “We now have the capability to do cohort discovery of complementary patient populations within the TriNetX network to obtain adequate representation across the demographic spectrum, elucidation of rare disease populations and other challenging cohorts such as those with extensive inclusion/exclusion criteria.”

About Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU Health represents the VCU Health System, which comprises five health sciences schools (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Virginia Premier. For more, please visit and

About TriNetX

TriNetX is the global health research network enabling healthcare organizations, biopharma and contract research organizations (CROs) to collaborate, enhance trial design, accelerate recruitment and bring new therapies to market faster. Each member of our community shares in the consolidated value of our global, federated health research network that connects clinical researchers in real-time to the patient populations which they are attempting to study. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

TriNetX: Jennifer Haas
VCU: Tim Aro

 Want to find out more?

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Handout – TriNetX Overview v3

CCTR Hosts Final BIC Brown Bag Seminar Focused on Cohort Discovery and Clinical Data Reporting


The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) hosted the final seminar in the BIC Brown Bag Lunch series which featured the various resources offered by the CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core (BIC).

On Thursday, May 12, Shannon Bruffy, IT specialist for BIC, and Jun He, research informatics application analyst for BIC, led a presentation on cohort discovery and clinical data reporting.

i2b2Bruffy focused her portion of the presentation on Cohort Discovery (i2b2), a tool that was developed at Harvard Partners Healthcare through a CTSA grant. i2b2 allows users to search a de-identified database, without IRB approval, to determine the existence of a set of patients meeting specified criteria. She also reviewed best practices for effective query building, which includes searching by time, multiple key words, and proper codes.

Jun He discussed the limitations and abilities of data extraction. Stressing the importance of good practice when submitting requests for data, He asked that requests be made after IRB approval has been obtained, with the conditions for requests provided, and with acronym explanations.

To submit a BIC request and learn if you’re eligible for assistance, visit

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First image up top: Shannon Bruffy, IT specialist for CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core

Third image from top: Jun He, research informatics application analyst for CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core

Biomedical Informatics Core Presents BIC Brown Bag Seminar on REDCap

The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research recently hosted the second seminar of the four-part BIC Brown Bag Lunch series.

Tim Aro, information systems manager for the CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core (BIC), and Michael Tran, IT specialist for BIC, reviewed the benefits of REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), the basics of building a project, advanced features, and the available data management support services offered by the CCTR.

A survey conducted in the summer of 2007 found that of 200 researchers, 80% were using Microsoft Excel as a database platform. In response to these findings, REDCap was created as a way of “making it easy to do the right thing,” Aro said.

In addition to being a secure platform, REDCap allows researchers to export and report on data, import and compare data, log field comments, lock records from further editing, and much more.

At the completion of Aro’s presentation, Tran reviewed more advanced REDCap features, such as branching logic and the ability to import data into REDCap from external data sources, including text files, databases, and electronic medical records (EMR).

Click here to download the full PowerPoint presentation.

The next BIC Brown Bag Lunch seminar will take place Thursday, May 12 at the Main Hospital’s Learning Center. From noon to 1 p.m., Shannon Buffy, IT specialist for BIC, will review the Cohort Discovery (i2b2) tool.

New Four-Part Brown Bag Seminar Series Kicks Off With BIC

The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) held the first in a series of four BIC Brown Bag Lunch seminars on Wednesday, March 23 at the Main Hospital’s Learning Center. 

Tim Aro, information systems manager for the CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core (BIC), led a presentation on the various tools and services the BIC has available to help the VCU community improve and expand data management processes.

“All of us here today have different experiences and expertise and I really think we can learn a lot from one another through collaboration,” Aro said. “The Biomedical Informatics Core is continuously growing and looking for feedback on the way you use our tools and services.”

The presentation covered an overview of the many tools and services offered by BIC, including electronic data capture (e.g. REDCap), cohort discovery (i2b2 and other new initiatives), and Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) support and training (OnCore).

To download Tim’s full presentation slides, click here.

The next BIC Brown Bag Lunch seminar will take place Friday, April 29. Michael Tran, information technology specialist for the CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core, will break down REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), the IRB approved/recommended site that allows users to build secure web-based databases and surveys, export data to common data analysis packages, and much more.