The long-term objective of the Center for Integrated Environmental Health Sciences (CIEHS) is to build a framework that integrates studies on the interactions between combined exposure to pollutants and life style factors), in order to understand their role in human health and disease risk at various life stages and as modified by gender. The Biostatistics and Informatics Facility Core (BIFC) plays a vital role in supporting CIEHS research by providing state-of-the-art statistical and bioinformatics support and training to all CIEHS members. The BIFC is an essential resource for designing systematic acquisition and deposition of preclinical and clinical data as well as for providing intellectual input required for rigorous data analysis. Building the framework to integrate translational basic science research on pollution and lifestyle cofactors influencing chronic disease risk requires sophisticated statistical support. The BIFC addresses this need by using state-of- art techniques related to statistics and informatics as it serves CIEHS members during all phases of their studies. The BIFC provides seamless infrastructure and support to CIEHS member research, including preclinical-basic science, patient-oriented clinical research (e.g., the diagnosis, prevention, and therapy of environmentally-related disorders), public health/population-based research, and community-engaged / community-led research.
The aims of the BIFC are: 1. Provide state-of-the-art statistical support in design, analysis and dissemination of findings of a range of basic science, translational, clinical, population health and environmental epidemiology studies; 2. Provide support for the integration of multi-omics data from both animal and human studies; 3. Facilitate integration of exposure data with lifestyle factors to identify effect modifiers and mediators of the health effects of environmental exposures; 4. Educate center investigators, staff and trainees in new methods related to statistics/omics approaches applicable to their research activities. Areas of special interest include, repeated measures models, measurement error, spatio-temporal methods, computational biology, statistical genetics, clinical informatics and Bayesian methods. Several CIEHS members currently use the statistical support services of the BIFC Director and staff, demonstrating both need and productive interactions. An IDeA grant to the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network and INBRE provides partial support for some BIFC bioinformatics personnel and access to a variety of bioinformatics and statistical tools. By leveraging and building upon existing resources at UofL, the BIFC is able to facilitate access and use of these resources by CIEHS members and expand statistical and bioinformatics support in a more cost efficient manner.