Penn Institute for Biomedical Informatics

The Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI) is a team of academic and applied informaticists who together develop, advance, and support education, research, and informatics infrastructure at the University of Pennsylvania. Their mission is to create an informatics ecosystem that fully captures the power of data, information, and knowledge to drive scientific discoveries that improve the health of individuals, communities, and populations. 


Biomedical Informatics and Precision Medicine


IBI, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Health Informatics, the Penn Center for Precision Medicine, Information Services (IS), and the Abramson Cancer Center, is building an infrastructure for Genomic Medicine and Pharmacogenomics. The goal of this project is to translate genetic discoveries into actionable precision medicine by integrating genetic results into the electronic health record (EHR). 

For example, some individuals have a natural variation in a gene called CYP2C19 that causes them to poorly metabolize the medicine clopidogrel, which is used to treat and prevent heart attacks and strokes. 

Metabolism of clopidogrel into its active form is necessary in order for the medication to be effective. As such, clopidogrel does not work as expected in these individuals with a CYP2C19 mutation. 

Making clinicians aware of patients who carry this particular mutation can allow them to choose a different and effective medication – one that is personalized to the genetic and biochemical profile of that patient. 

As part of this this collaboration, the PennChart team has developed a Precision Medicine section of the EHR for ordering genetic tests and reviewing results. This Precision Medicine section also includes clinical decision support tools to help clinicians make the right decisions for their patients based on genetic test data. This project advances Penn Medicine’s leadership in personalized medicine that is delivered effectively at the point of care. 


Biomedical Informatics Education and Fellowship

As interest in clinical informatics work grows around the country, many academic medical centers offer accredited programs for this area of study. IBI developed and actively supports a master’s degree program in biomedical informatics

Through this foundational education work, IBI has simultaneously developed most of the components needed to support a clinical informatics fellowship program. The Center will serve as a natural bridge that brings together IBI and clinical informatics expertise to one day develop a robust, nationally recognized clinical informatics fellowship program to train the next generation of physician informaticists.

The IBI brings its internationally recognized faculty, deep knowledge of biomedical informatics science, and pioneering experience with advanced technology to the Center for Applied Health Informatics. 

As a group founded on the notion of collaboration itself, IBI will bring that same collaborative spirit to its work in the Center. IBI’s partnership in the Center will help marry foundational biomedical informatics work with applied health informatics applications initiatives. In so doing, IBI’s collaboration will accelerate development of next-generation clinical decision support tools, leverage natural language understanding to solve challenges in clinical practice, and provide evaluation and research expertise to benefit all of the Center’s initiatives.