Initiated as a National Center for Biomedical Computing in 2004, NA-MIC provides the infrastructure and environment for the development of computational algorithms and open-source technologies, and then oversees the training and dissemination of these tools to the medical research community. NA-MIC is applying this technology to diseases that have immense impact on the duration and quality of life: cancer, heart disease, trauma, and degenerative genetic diseases.
Practicing clinicians and biomedical researchers are intimately aware of gaps in their ability to apply medical knowledge to the needs of individual patients. An abundance of electronic clinical data is produced over the course of an individual's disease progression and treatment, representing an enormous opportunity for improving medical care. The task of interpreting this mass of clinical data, however, has become correspondingly complex, often confounding this opportunity. To borrow a phrase from the intelligence community, the medical community is facing a challenge of "not enough eyeballs per pixel." In practice, delivering on the promise of the information technology revolution in biomedical imaging is exceptionally difficult. The barriers to entry include the need to interoperate with scanners and other clinical systems, to organize and present clinical information according to accepted conventions, and to deploy computer systems that can efficiently process data within the time constraints of clinical practice. Since many of these requirements are common across a range of clinical applications, the NA-MIC open source platform allows the most labor intensive development and debugging tasks to be shared by the community for mutual benefit. A well defined, scalable software architecture and rigorous engineering methodology are essential to making software of this scale viable and are hallmarks of the NA-MIC approach.
investigator: Polina Golland