Wake Forest Biotech Place

The CIB moved in March 2012 to Wake Forest Biotech Place, a state-of-the-art multipurpose biotechnology research and innovation center in the Piedmont Triad Research Park. This world-class 242,000 square foot research building is newly renovated to be a modern biotech research laboratory. The Biomedical Engineering department has over 10,000 square feet of laboratory and office space at Wake Forest Biotech Place, with 8,000 square feet of this allocated to the CIB for faculty, staff, and student use. Extensive video and telephone conference facilities have are available to facilitate the collaboration between the CIB and Wake Forest. The CIB laboratory is fully equipped with mechanical testing equipment, a machine shop, and tissue storage facilities.

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Clinical

Through direct collaborations, medical specialist consultation and medical imaging services are performed by Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  The main teaching hospital of the School of Medicine is North Carolina Baptist Hospital, which contains 781 general hospital beds including a 66-bed ICU.  The School of Medicine and hospital buildings are a single unit, for close correlation of clinical and basic medical science teaching programs.  Additionally, clinical and research medical imaging techniques such as MRI, CT, and other modalities are available through the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Wake Forest University Radiology Systems

Wake Forest University has a state-of-the-art radiology infrastructure, and in addition to clinical radiology, has one of the premier research and development programs in the country in the imaging modalities.  WFU’s researchers work with functional MRI (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), MRI, and computed tomography (CT).  The radiology systems are fully digital, and all images are electronic and accessible from any imaging workstation.

The research arm of imaging modalities at WFU falls under the Center for Biomolecular Imaging and its Director, Dr. Kerry Link.  Major radiological imaging research equipment includes:

  • One 1.5 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner dedicated for research use, though others are available
  • One 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner for research or clinical use
  • One 7 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner for research use
  • Two GE Lightspeed High speed 16 slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanners
  • Two full size PET scanners and resources for generation of radioactive isotopes for PET research
  • One full size CT-PET combined modality scanner
  • A Micro-Computed Tomography (Micro-CT) Scanner
  • A Micro-Positron Emission Tomography (Micro-PET) Scanner

More than 363,000 diagnostic procedures are performed each year by personnel of the Department of Radiology of WFUBMC. The Department of Radiology occupies 92,697 square feet of clinical space. Newly remodeled space formerly occupied by the Emergency Department now houses sophisticated reading rooms and a lecture hall.

Divided into subspecialty areas for maximum efficiency and quality, the department’s clinical facilities and equipment include:

  • six remote-control fluoroscopes for uroradiology and gastrointestinal examinations
  • a special procedures uroradiology room with fluoroscopy
  • two pediatric units with low-dose fluoroscopy
  • five special procedures rooms for neuroradiology, visceral arteriography, digital subtraction angiography, and ultrasound
  • two automatic chest units
  • two skull units
  • a radiography and fluoroscopy room for myelography
  • three general radiography rooms in the ED
  • several general radiography rooms and mobile units

A fully staffed outpatient imaging facility is available. This facility contains:

  • Five (5) 1.5 Tesla MRI Scanners for clinical and research use
  • One (1) whole body high resolution, 3 Tesla (3T) MR scanner for clinical and research use
  • three multislice CT scanners
  • three ultrasound units
  • three x-ray mammography units
  • a stereotactic mammography table for needle biopsy of the breast
  • a dedicated breast ultrasound unit
  • one x-ray bone densitometry unit
  • one radiology and fluoroscopy room
  • a CT-PET scanner

The Ultrasound Service is equipped with six state-of-the-art high resolution real-time units. All are capable of performing both imaging and spectral, color, and amplitude Doppler flow studies. All images are digital, and the section operates in filmless mode. The section also is a major division of theCenter for Medical Ultrasound, a nationally recognized ultrasound teaching facility with ongoing programs throughout the year.

The Nuclear Medicine section has eight gamma cameras, including whole body and dual and triple-headed SPECT units; an integrated medical computer system; and an in-house radiopharmacy. The PET Center, which includes a cyclotron and scanner, is utilized for both clinical and research applications.

The MRI Center operates five state of-the-art high-field magnetic resonance imaging units, one of which is cardiac optimized, three of which have parallel imaging, and one which operates at 3T.

Most subspecialties have multifilm automatic view boxes as well as standard viewing equipment. Several areas have videotape units and computerized data storage units. Digitization and filmless storage of ultrasound studies is accomplished with KINETiCS, a digital ultrasound management system.

Patient radiographic data can be accessed by two methods.  One method allows for accessing the transcribed radiology report through LastWord, the electronic medical records database.  WFUBMC utilizes a comprehensive, filmless picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The high-speed ATM-based system connects five photostimulable phosphorus plate devices serving musculoskeletal, intensive care, and emergency department areas. The reusable plate technology makes it possible to capture standard x-ray images for conversion to digital format. In addition, the GE network, maintaining seven CT scanners and three MR imagers, and nuclear medicine’s Pegasus system, is connected to PACS. The automated radiology information system (RIS) provides the demographic input for the PACS.

PACS and Radiology Information Systems

WFUBMC’s radiology imaging systems are linked electronically behind a secure firewall, with all imaging information stored on servers and accessible in real time anywhere within WFUBMC. Radiologic readings are placed in LastWord, and fulfilled using radiology’s infrastructure.

As noted above, departmental operations are managed by an automated radiology information system (RIS) with functions that include scheduling, patient and film folder tracking, transcription, electronic report approval, and teaching codes. The RIS is connected to the hospital information system (HIS), which offers order entry and reporting capabilities.

A department-wide office automation system (GAS) supports users with central access to functions such as electronic mail, word processing, databases, spreadsheets, and connectivity into other computing systems.

Complete integration of the RIS, HIS, GAS, and PACS provides an efficient environment for collecting, processing, and managing data.

Office of Research

WFU was ranked 36th in NIH funding nationally during fiscal year 2003-04, with $114.8 million awarded. The Office of Research provides services related to research administration for WFU.  Pre-award grant and contract administration includes: advice and guidance, identifying funding sources, institutional review and clearance of applications, and assistance with agency site visits.  The Research Support Core provides pre-award grant editing and budget assistance to WFU faculty. Post-award grant and contract administration includes: advice and guidance, policy interpretation, agency liaison, and rebudgeting actions.  The office also provides management and support of institutional committees: the Institutional Review Board, the Animal Care and Use Committee, the Intramural Research Support Committee, the University Patent Committee, and the Biosafety Committee.

The Department of Biomedical Communications

The department provides audiovisual instructional design, production services and equipment for research activities.  The services include photography, television, motion pictures, audio production, medical illustration, typesetting, equipment maintenance, and graphic arts services. The Document Preparation Center was established to accommodate needs for major support services in word processing. The Office of Printing Services has facilities for high-speed photocopying, offset printing, collating and binding.  The charges for services are available at approximately 50 percent of outside cost.

The Coy C. Carpenter Library

The library contains more than 152,687 volumes, including 3,700 medical and related scientific journals which are accessed via a computer-based catalog system.  Computer searches, computer-assisted instruction, and document delivery services are also available.

Section on Biostatistics

The Biostatistics Section of the Department of Public Health Sciences (Section Head, Dr. Michael Miller) provides expertise in biostatistics, clinical trial design and conduct, computer programming, and advanced research data processing services.  The 17 faculty in the Section conduct methodological research in survival analysis, sequential analyses, clinical trial design, categorical data analysis, analyses with missing data, assurement/misclassification errors, multivariate and longitudinal analyses, resampling techniques, robust regression, meta-analysis, psychometrics, regression diagnostics, quantitative epidemiology, genetics methods, and health service methods.  The Section promotes basic, clinical, and epidemiological collaborative research of the highest methodological standards for design, conduct, and analysis.  Faculty and staff collaborate with investigators on:  study design, remote or centralized data entry systems, data management, quality assurance, data analysis, development of new statistical methods, sample size calculations, surveys and questionnaire development, publications, and manuscript reviews.  The Section provides training in scientific programming, data systems design and management, and networked communications. The Section’s programmers (N=25) and biostatisticians (N=25 total) work closely together to integrate strict quality control specifications in the design of data management systems. Faculty and staff in the Section have been jointly involved in the design and development of many computerized data systems. This combination of experience and collaborative spirit places us as a national leader in the coordinating of large multicenter studies.

Computer Environment

Biostatistical Support

The Biostatistics Section in the Department of Public Health Sciences offers expertise and support in many biostatistical areas, including: Bayesian analysis, categorical data analysis, causal inference, clinical trial design, empirical Bayes methods, epidemiological statistics, health services research, hierarchical models, imaging and pattern recognition methods, incomplete data analysis, Markov Chain models, measurement error models, latent variable models, longitudinal and clustered data analysis, misclassification error, multivariate analysis, nonparametric methods, psychometrics, sampling, statistical computing, statistical genetics, survival analysis, and sequential data analysis.

Computing Support

Research computing (RC) for WFU is provided by the Department of Public Health Sciences and supported through an FTE-based monthly fee which pays for the LAN access, network infrastructure, desktop support, CPU use, and disk storage. Core processors which form the computing base for the PHS Computing Facility include a Sun Enterprise 3500 (with 500 GB of storage and 3 GB of RAM) and a 2 node VMS/VAX cluster (1-VaxStation 4000/90, 1-VaxStation 4000/VLC and 5 GB of fixed disk storage). Additional support equipment includes:

  • Dual Drive SDLT 30-Tape Library
  • 5-4mm DAT cassette tape drives
  • 1-1.7GB Hitachi magneto-optical disk drive
  • 1-9 track reel to reel tape drive (6250, 3200, & 1600 bpi)
  • 1-HP IIIsi Laser printer (ethernet based)
  • 1-HP IVsi Laser printer (ethernet based)
  • 2-HP Vsi Laser printer (ethernet based)
  • 1-Xerox 4920 Color Laser printer
  • 8 Windows NT 4.0 application servers
  • 5 Windows NT 4.0 web servers

Statistical software supported includes SAS, S-Plus, BMDP, Stata, StatXact, IML, and Fortran. Other compilers include C, C++, and Pascal. Editors available include VI, EMACS, Nedit and ed. The network is Ethernet-based and a PC/LAN is available to Windows NT 4.0. In addition to the core Sun and VAX computers, RC also supports an integrated Unix workstation configuration with several Sun SparcStation computers, configured as follows:

  • 2-Sun Enterprise 250 (user node)
  • 2-Sun SparcStation Model 20 (user node)
  • 15-Sun SparcStation Model 4/5 (user nodes, web server)
  • 7-Sun UltraSparc Systems (user nodes)
  • Disk drives (server: 3.15 GB total)

In addition to central processors, the department supports a wide variety of personal computers (PC compatible and Macintosh) each with either serial or LAN connectivity. Supported operating systems include Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, MAC OS 10. The computer facility is air-conditioned, humidity controlled, and power conditioned. Power conditioning and limited battery back-up capability is provided by a 7000Kva BEST FERRUPS uninterruptible power supply. The system is equipped with an automatic notification feature to ensure response to unexpected electrical outages, temperature abnormalities, and excessive noise conditions (i.e. fire alarms). In addition, secure fire-proof tape storage is available located outside the CPU area, to ensure optimal disaster recovery.

PHS provides dial-in capabilities to its users via a Xylogics Remote Annex 4000 dial-up server that provides complete user authentication. Upon successful authentication, users have full PPP connections for connectivity to the SUN server. Twelve dial-in modems are currently a mixture of 56K, 28.8K, and 14.4K modems.

Computing Cluster

The DEAC cluster, called OSIRIS, is an initiative of Wake Forest University to provide world class computing in support of research and education.  Initially deployed in 2002, the cluster supports research activities in Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, and Computational Biophysics.

Currently, the DEAC cluster has 122 computational nodes. These nodes are connected via gigabit Ethernet to 6 disk server nodes.  The disk server nodes provide a parallel, distributed file-system interface to the fiber channel storage area network (FC SAN).  This cluster is managed with 4 maintenance nodes.  Access to the cluster by users is possible through any one of the 4 head nodes.

The cluster FC SAN is based on a 7TB (usable) IBM ESS 800 storage device.  This device has 4 FC connections to redundant 8 port switches.  The 6 disk servers have dual FC adapters to redundantly attach to the FC switches.  Connectivity to the compute nodes is provided by the dual, redundant gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the cluster core network switch.  This arrangement provides the highest possible fault tolerance and results in stable, robust environment for compute nodes to access data.

The cluster is directly connected to the Wake Forest University campus core network router through fiber-based, gigabit Ethernet.  The campus router also provides direct access to WinstonNet, a regional point of presence (rPOP) network in Winston Salem providing gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the local universities, county school systems, and North Carolina Research and Education Network (NC-REN).  NC-REN provides statewide OC-12 (655 Mbits/s) network connectivity for colleges and universities and is directly connected to the Internet and Internet 2 networks.

In conclusion, the cluster design is optimized to present the highest possible “quality of service” in the face of any possible hardware failure.  By building redundancy into the design, research programs are more productive and less susceptible to system faults beyond their control.  The end result is a tool for research that seamlessly provides computational power without extensive knowledge of or interaction with the specific details of the resource being provided, an important step in bridging the gap between the workstation and the grid.

 

Wake Forest Baptist Health
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
575 N. Patterson Ave, Suite 120
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: (336) 716-2011
Website: www.wfubmc.edu