Department of Biostatistics IT Team Skills and Experience

The Department of Biostatistics boasts a strong IT support team consisting of 7 programmers and analysts with 75 combined years of experience. Led by Dale Plummer, the team collaborates with scientific investigators and statisticians to develop and leverage technology solutions that enable and support the collection of data and their analysis. IT team members have a broad range of skills and experiences that facilitate their integration into biomedical research teams. Past successful collaborations range from routine data capture support to the development of complex R packages to the development of standalone software.

The IT Team supports various hardware and software platforms, departmental networking, computer performance issues, software acquisition and installation, and task specific programming. The team has programming experience with a wide array of programming languages and techniques to support programming design, database design, statistical programming, web applications, and high performance computing. The team has extensive experience collecting data from disparate sources and assembling the data into clean, analysis-ready data sets.

Members of the group have experience with R Programming, building R packages, supporting package repositories, and making submissions to CRAN. Biostatistics programmers maintain the Hmisc and rms packages. The rApache, Rook, brew, RMySQL, canvas, datamap, gearman, redcap, rmemcache, and MingSWF packages are developed and/or maintained here. Work is being done with RStudio to make it possible to easily create interactive web interfaces from R, to improve HTML rendering of tables in R, and to facilitate the deployment of R web applications.

The popular PS: Power and Sample Size Calculation program was developed and is maintained by a member of the IT Team.

The Biostatistics IT Team understands the issues surrounding confidentiality and is committed to compliance with data privacy rules and regulations.

The IT Team members are Cole Beck, Thomas Dupont, Shawn Garbett, Zhouwen Liu, Dale Plummer, and Jeremy Stephens.

Skill Set IT Team Members
Statistical analysis (under the direction of statisticians) All
R Programming, building R packages, supporting package repositories, and submissions to CRAN ColeBeck, CharlesDupont, ZhouwenLiu, JeremyStephens, Shawn Garbett
Contributions to the RStudio product JeffreyHorner
SAS Programming DalePlummer, ZhouwenLiu
Stata Programming, including contributions to the base Stata product DalePlummer
Web applications using R and RApache, Shiny, Ruby and Rails, PHP, and other web application toolsets All
Web libraries: Sinatra, .NET, Maria (Javascript MVC framework); Qt (desktop GUI library) JeremyStephens
Acquisition and preparation of data for the production of analysis data sets ("data cleaning") All
Programming in C, C++, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Python, Java, Javascript, HTML, CSS, Go ColeBeck, CharlesDupont, ZhouwenLiu, JeremyStephens, Shawn Garbett
Design and implementation of databases using MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and other SQL-based database packages All
Design, implementation, and support of REDCap databases All
Support of Linux based servers (installation, maintenance, scripting, backup, performance management) ColeBeck, CharlesDupont, DalePlummer, JeremyStephens, Shawn Garbett
Support of desktop computers (Linux, Macintosh, Windows; installation, maintenance, backup, help) ColeBeck, DalePlummer
Hardware work: selection, troubleshooting and repair, peripherals, networking, printers, etc. ColeBeck, DalePlummer
Production of desktop applications using various languages All
Management of clinical trials data All
Understanding and compliance with data privacy rules and regulations All
High performance computing and use of Vanderbilt's ACCRE cluster ZhouwenLiu
LaTeX, knitr, Sweave ColeBeck, CharlesDupont

Topic revision: r20 - 03 Aug 2017, DalePlummer

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