Research and Development

RISI Research and Development Overview

RISI Research and Development (R&D) was created in early 2013. The mission of R&D is to collaborate with researchers and clinicians on problem solving to enhance clinical research through advanced informatics methodologies and disruptive technology. R&D is a small division with ~25 diverse talents. We are proud to be an agile group, accelerating innovation through wide array of services. There are four teams in R&D: Data Collaboration, Big Data, Data Science, and Design and Technology.

The Data Collaboration team helps researchers get access to our EHR data, augment data sets through additional electronic data collection, and enable multisite collaboration through data standardization. This team consists of Data Architects, ETL Programmers, DBA, and Data Analysts.

The Data Science team employs advanced analytics such as NLP, statistical model, machine learning, and geospatial analysis to enable text analytics and predictive modeling to gain insights from data. This team is comprised of Computer Scientists, Statisticians, and Geospatial Information Scientists.

The Design and Technology team designs digital, physical or hybrid solutions that interface with people. In addition to providing key functionalities, they focus on the people and process aspects of a project, to ensure the solution adoption by the end users through co-design, usability testing, and Design and Technology engineering. It is a multidisciplinary team within itself, composed of Artists, Designers, a Design and Technology Specialist, Cognitive Scientist, and Full Stack Developers.


Below is a list of peer-reviewed publications that R&D authored and/or co-authored:

  • Wei Chen, Krista K. Wheeler, Simon Lin, Yungui Huang, Huiyun Xiang, Computerized “Learn-As-You-Go” classification of traumatic brain injuries using NEISS narrative data, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 89, April 2016, Pages 111-117, ISSN 0001-4575,
  • Wei Chen, Yungui Huang, Boyle Brendan, Simon Lin, “The Utility of Including Pathology Notes in the Computational Identification of Patients for a Celiac Disease Registry” – submitted for publication to Journal of Pathology Informatics, January 2016.
  • Utidjian L, Hoyt R, Reynolds M, “Identifying and Understanding Data Quality Issues in a Pediatric Distributed Research Network” abstract submitted to Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2016 Meeting in Baltimore, MD, April 30-May 3.
  • Cameron Best, Robert Strouse, Victoria Pepper, Ekene Onwuka, Toshiharu Shinoka, Kan Hor, and Christopher Breuer.  (2016, March)  3D-printing a closed disposable seeding system for rapid preparation of patient specific tissue engineered vascular grafts.  Poster presentation at: 9th Annual Translational to Clinical Regenerative Medicine Wound Care Conference; Columbus, OH.
  • Alice Grinshencko, John Luna, Jeremy PattersonAlice Grishchenko, John Luna, and Jeremy Patterson. 2016. Voxel bay: VR as a distraction for pediatric pain. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2016 Talks (SIGGRAPH ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 94 , 2 pages. DOI:
  • Soheil Moosavinasab, Jeremy Patterson, Robert Strouse, Majid Rastegar-Mojarad, Kelly Regan, Philip R. O. Payne, Yungui Huang, Simon M. Lin, “RE:fine Drugs”: An Interactive Dashboard to Access Drug Repurposing Opportunities. Database Journal, Oxford Press, May 2016. Link
  • Carl H. Backes MD1,2,3, Elizabeth Bonachea MD1,3, Brian K. Rivera MS1,, Megan Reynolds BA8, Claire Kovalchin BS1, Kristina Reber MD1,3, Molly Ball MD1, Ronald Sutsko DO5, Saketh Guntupalli MD6, Charles V. Smith PhD4, John Mahan MD3, Melissa Carbajal MD7  Preparedness of Pediatric Residents for Fellowship:  A Survey of US Neonatology Fellowship Program Directors (In Press) Journal of Perinatology
  • Columbus Monthly Magazine : “Ahead of the Pack : From virtual reality to lasers and beyond, Central Ohio physicians and researchers are using new technology and initiatives to better treat patients.”, Shyla Nott.
  • Rajeswari Swaminathan, Yungui Huang, Soheil Moosavinasab, Ronald Buckley, Christopher W Bartlett, Simon M Lin. A review on Genomics APIs. Computational and structural Biotechnology Journal. Published on October 31 2015
  • Soheil Moosavinasab, Jeremy Patterson, Krista K. Wheeler, Robert Strouse, Huiyun Xiang, Yungui Huang, Simon M. Lin. “RE:fine NEISS”: a real-time interaction search system for product-related injuries presented to US hospital emergency departments, Journal of Healthcare Information Management, 29 (3): 39-45, 2015
  • Papautsky, E. L., Dominguez, C., Strouse, R., & Moon, B. (in press, Dec 2015). Integration of cognitive task analysis and design thinking for autonomous helicopter displays. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making. DOI: 10.1177/1555343415602624
  • Dominguez, C., Strouse, R., Papautsky, L, & Moon, B. (2015).  Cognitive Design of an Application Enabling Remote Bases to Receive Unmanned Helicopter Resupply.  Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 4(2), pp. 50-60.
  • Chen W, Wheeler KK, Huang Y, Lin S, Sui DZ, Xiang H. Evaluation of Spatial Accessibility to Ohio Trauma Centers Using a GIS-based Gravity Model. British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research. 2015;10(7):1-12.
  • Chen W, Kowatch R, Lin S, Splaingard M, Huang Y. Interactive Cohort Identification of Sleep Disorder Patients Using Natural Language Processing and i2b2. Applied Clinical Informatics. 2015;6(2):345-63.
  • Zhou, X., Zheng, A., Yin, J., Chen, R., Zhao, X., Xu, W., … & Lin, S. (2015). Context-Sensitive Spelling Correction of Consumer-Generated Content on Health Care. JMIR medical informatics, 3(3), e27.
  • Zhang W, Yu Y, Hertwig F, Thierry-Mieg J, …, Lin SM, … & Rosswog C (2015). Comparison of RNA-seq and microarray-based models for clinical endpoint prediction. Genome Biology, 16(1), 1-12.
  • Herr, T M, …, Lin SM, … & Starren J (2015). Practical considerations in genomic decision support: The eMERGE experience. Journal of Pathology Informatics, 6(1), 50.
  • Ye Z, Kadolph C, Strenn R, Wall D, McPherson E, Lin S. WHATIF: An open-source desktop application for extraction and management of the incidental findings from next-generation sequencing variant data. Comput Biol Med. 2015 Apr 8. pii: S0010-4825(15)00106-7. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2015.03.028. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25890833.
  • He M, Person TN, Hebbring SJ, Heinzen E, Ye Z, Schrodi SJ, McPherson EW, Lin SM, Peissig PL, Brilliant MH, O’Rawe J, Robison RJ, Lyon GJ, Wang K. SeqHBase: a big data toolset for family based sequencing data analysis. J Med Genet. 2015 Apr;52(4):282-8. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102907. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PubMed PMID: 25587064; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4382803.
  • Bele A, Mirza S, Zhang Y, Ahmad Mir R, Lin S, Kim JH, Gurumurthy CB, West W, Qiu F, Band H, Band V. The cell cycle regulator ecdysoneless cooperates with H-Ras to promote oncogenic transformation of human mammary epithelial cells. Cell Cycle. 2015 Apr 3;14(7):990-1000. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2015.1006982. PubMed PMID: 25616580.
  • Hebbring SJ, Rastegar-Mojarad M, Ye Z, Mayer J, Jacobson C, Lin S. Application of clinical text data for phenome-wide association studies (PheWASs). Bioinformatics. 2015 Feb 4. pii: btv076. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25657332.
  • Rastegar-Mojarad M, Ye Z, Kolesar JM, Hebbring SJ, Lin SM. Opportunities for drug repositioning from phenome-wide association studies. Nature Biotechnology 2015 Apr 7;33(4):342-5. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3183. PubMed PMID: 25850054.

Voxel Bay – Virtual Reality as Distraction Techniques


Factor replacement treatment for hemophilia is a procedure that can cause anxiety in patients. The treatment method requires that the patient remain still, which can exacerbate the anxiety.

Design Solution

Create an immersive virtual environment that overloads a patient’s perception of sensory input. Considerations of the factor replacement treatment dictated that movement must be limited; therefore, the design substituted hand controls with integrated head movement and breathing exercises that serve as the control mechanics within the game.

Project Details

The RISI Design and Technology Team designed a virtual environment that places a child into a sailboat that travels between three islands. The child must blow into a microphone in order to travel between the islands. There are also novel and fun mini-games to play on each island. Children would be given their own version of a ‘Google Cardboard’ viewing device to decorate and keep between infusions. Clinics would have a minimal investment of two or three iPod Touch devices that the virtual environment would run on.

The system is a completely interactive virtual experience that was designed and developed within the RISI R&D division. The system uses alternative modes of interaction which do not require gross body movement on the part of the user. In addition, the interactive experience provides tools that augment and add to the current distraction techniques already in use by clinical staff.


Posted in case study, user experience

Bike Game for Muscular Dystrophy Patients


Some children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) have not engaged in a habitual exercise routine in their entire childhood lives to date.

Design Solution

Design an experience in which the adolescent users would participate in a bicycling exercise routine by turning the act of exercise into an interactive video game.

Project Details

The RISI Design and Technology Team designed and developed two custom games, in addition to designing and leading the effort to modify an off-the-shelf bicycle to act as a game controller. Both game designs center around a game play mechanic which requires that the child pedals the bicycle in order to progress in the game. The bicycle is also outfitted with a controller and dual-buttons embedded in the handlebar which provide additional actions in the custom games.

The bicycle is designed to be “plug and play”, and is attached to the computer which powers the games via a standard USB interface. The PC which runs the games is a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which proved to be an ideal form-factor for this purpose. Not only is the Surface Pro a moderately powerful PC at its heart, but all auxiliary hardware, such as a monitor and speakers, are all built into the unit. Therefore, the PC could be mounted in front of the child on the bicycle’s handlebar, leading to a more portable and immersive experience.

The Design and Technology group’s bicycle game has been provided to two patients to date, with more patients in the pipeline. The first patient to receive the bicycle had not, as anticipated, previously ridden a bicycle. Through the strategy and design that was employed when creating the bicycle games and controller, this child was not only able to learn how to ride a bike within the first 10 minutes of the session, but continued exercising until being asked to stop 20 minutes later.

The Design and Technology group learned three major points during this project:

  1. Patient experiences are not exclusively hardware or software based, but rather a combination of the two; thus custom hardware and software combined are becoming the deliverable.
  2. Custom hardware development is becoming ubiquitous as custom application development; and both work best when executed in tandem.
  3. User-centered design reduces adoption barriers and encourages habitual use.


Posted in case study, user experience

Seizure Detection in Patients with Epilepsy


Patients with an epilepsy diagnosis are aware that at any moment, they could have a seizure. This leads to many patients living secluded lives and unable to participate in ‘normal’ activities.

Design Solution

Work with clinicians to collect data from epileptic patients wearing smart watches. Compare that data to the current seizure monitoring gold standards to help identify data that might be leveraged to first detect and eventually predict seizures. 

Project Details

The problem landscape includes unique challenges when addressing a pediatric population.

  • Affordability: Is the device something that the family that includes a member with epilepsy can afford and does the cost of ownership remain affordable over time.
  • Usage: The battery life for the device must allow continuous, around the clock monitoring of the patient. Therefore, it must provide a sense of security for an extended period of time, such as lasting throughout the day or overnight.
  • Perception: The target demographic is school age children, and the device is only useful if the patient wears the device. Therefore, it is important that the user is comfortable wearing the device throughout a day at school. The device cannot identify the wearer as a patient with epilepsy.

The hybrid system was built using consumer grade wearable devices: a Basis Peak and Pebble smart watch. The system also includes custom software written for iOS devices and Pebble smart watch devices. The project was executed in conjunction with and with the support of Pebble. The hybrid system was built using consumer grade wearable devices: a Basis Peak and Pebble smart watch. The system also includes custom software written for iOS devices and Pebble smart watch devices. The project was executed in conjunction with and with the support of Pebble.


Posted in case study, user experience

Enlighten – Interactive Informed Consent



In the current informed consent process, subjects are presented with a multi-page paper form that outlines the procedures and risks that they will be subjected to if they choose to participate in the study. The paper form process is tedious and unengaging.

Design Solution

Create an application to improve this process by offering a new way to engage the subject in the consent process.

Project Details

The overall goal of Enlighten is to improve the consent process, ensuring that that the subject makes an informed decision regarding their participation and that the hospital remains compliant with regulations as they pertain to consent.

  • Interactive avatars are used to make the process more engaging and interactive
  • Videos and games help appeal to multiple learning styles
  • Content is presented in smaller sections in tandem with audio to make the consent easier to understand and to reach a broader audience
  • Questions are be posed to the user to ensure comprehension
  • Digital signatures/initials are captured and included in a signed consent form that will then be emailed to the subject

Enlighten is:

  • Highly Interactive and educational (avatars, games, questions)
  • Multi-lingual
  • Created with different learning styles in mind
  • Regulatory compliant
  • HIPAA Compliant
  • Kid friendly – designed with pediatric population in mind


Posted in case study, user experience

RISI Research and Development Services

If you have projects that would benefit from R&D services, we’d love to collaborate with you to understand your problem, evaluate possible approaches, and co-design an optimal solution. Here is the typical process of engage R&D services:

  1. we meet with you for an initial free consultation
  2. we evaluate feasibility and research approaches
  3. we follow up with a meeting or emails to clarify understanding of the problem
    • further feasibility evaluation may occur before proceeding
  4. we propose a project approach and provides an estimate of work and timeline
  5. we proceed with development under proposed timeline with formal budget approval

There are multiple ways to financially support RISI Research and Development (R&D) services.

  • Allocate effort level for RISI R&D personnel in your grant proposal
  • Chargeback on a cost center based on estimated effort using the two-tier charge model outlined below
  • Apply for CCTS voucher to cover for R&D core services (2016 max is $3,000)

Tier I:

Services under this category support the needs of electronic data capture (EDC) and web-based survey needs. RISI R&D now supports REDCap​, OpenClinica, and Teleforms​​. comparison of REDCap and OpenClinica features can be found on each application’s page.

For each EDC project, we provide:

  • User set up and activation
  • Training sessions
  • Study, site, and event/visit setup – Includes setting up each site as a discrete entity under the main study. The site and site data is accessible only to staff from that site, including the study director and data manager.
  • Development of electronic case report forms (eCRF)
  • eCRF modifications pre- and post-production
  • Administrative and technical assistance with the system

Tier II:

RISI R&D also provides custom solutions in the following areas:

Custom Application Development​ (Creative / Interactive / Design and Technology)​​
Our team develops holistic strategies for your custom application and mobile/device specific needs ranging from tailoring and designing the perfect Design and Technology focused concisely for unique audience to choosing the best of breed technology to realize the project’s goals with the highest degree of quality.

Data Collaboration
Our team provides end to end data solutions for your research needs. We offer managed enterprise-level database solutions including complete database design, housing and implementation, scalable de-identified data warehousing, reporting and honest broker services.

Data Science
Our team designs and implements reliable, scalable and intelligent applications to provide fast information retrieval, text/data processing, mining, and analytics, on datasets of any size and any structure. ​​

Contact RISI

We are very interested in hearing from researchers about how we can improve the services we currently provide and what additional services are needed. Email your suggestions to or if you prefer anonymous feedback, click here.

Service requests can be submitted at http://help, by emailing, or by calling the RIT Service Desk at (614)355-5600 Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.