Michael J. Becich, MD, PhD

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Course Directors
Department of Biomedical Informatics
University of Pittsburgh
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Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Pathology and Information Science and Telecommunications
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University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
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Dr. Becich is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (http://www.dbmi.pitt.edu) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is jointly appointed in Pathology, Information Sciences/Telecommunications and Clinical/Translational Research. He is Associate Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (http://www.upci.upmc.edu/) and Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (http://www.ctsi.pitt.edu) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Becich obtained his MD and a PhD in Experimental Pathology from Northwestern University, and served as a staff anatomic pathologist after completing his pathology residency at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO).  At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine he founded the nation's first Pathology Informatics fellowship program and the Advancing Practice Instruction and Innovation through Informatics (APIII) conference which now has been renamed as Pathology Informatics 20XX (http://www.pathinformatics.pitt.edu).  In 2000, in partnership with Bruce Friedman, MD, he help co-found the Association for Pathology Informatics (http://www.pathologyinformatics.org).  He is a member of 14 professional societies and has contributed to over 150 papers as well as several on-line presentations. He is a fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the American College of Medical Informatics.

Dr. Becich's research interests are focused on the interface between clinical informatics imaging informatics and bioinformatics. His research is funded by the NCI, NCRR, NLM, CDC, TATRC and the DOD and includes clinical phenotyping of patients for genomic studies, tissue banking informatics and bioinformatics with a special emphasis on data sharing.  Dr. Becich is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Omnyx (http://www.omnyx.com) and has been an innovator and entrepreneur in the area of whole slide imaging and digital pathology and their use in improving patient care and patient safety.   A complete online profile including bibliography is available at http://www.dbmi.pitt.edu/person/michael-j-becich-md-phd.

His current research focuses on developing applications and databases to automate clinical annotation of tissues utilized in high throughput genomics and proteomic analyses. This program focuses on creating data mining and data warehousing tools for data derived from DNA based microarrays, tissue microarrays, tissue bank information systems, clinical information systems, clinical trials data and imaging repositories that currently exist in the Pathology department and Cancer Centers program. His laboratories are well-funded including grants from the National Cancer Institute, National Center for Research Resources, National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Agency for Healthcare Quality, Department of Defense (Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Command) as well as corporate sponsored research programs.

Several good examples of the innovative research include the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank for Translational Research (NMVB), the Facebase Management and Coordination Hub (FaceBase) and the Gynecologic Cancer Translational Research Center of Excellence (GynCOE).  

NMVB has created and maintains a national virtual patient registry and research resource bank and proposes to expand their innovative resources through a cooperative working group that broadly shares their mesothelioma research tools. The NMVB database is used for clinical and outcomes data collection related to each research resource (serum, plasma, tissue, pleural effusions, tissue microarrays, whole slide images, proteomic/genomic data and other resources.

The FaceBase goal is to establish a data management and coordination hub focused on identifying genes and/or environmental contributors to complex traits such as cleft palate. A complementary team of multiple principal investigators and consultants will use a combination of thoughtful epidemiology, family collections, careful phenotyping including high resolution imaging, high throughput genotyping, robust statistical strategies, comprehensive studies of gene expression and epigenetics and characterization of animal models.

GynCOE hopes to develop improved strategies for the early detection, prevention and treatment of gynecologic cancer by increasing our understanding of the molecular aberrations associated with gynecologic carcinogenesis and the biologic mechanism(s) underlying the influences of hormones and other epigenetic influences on cancer risk. Collection, preparation and evaluation of tissue specimens from gynecologic cancer patients will be supported through a multi-institutional Tissue and Data Acquisition Core. Data sharing and analysis for all investigative activities will be supported by the GYN-COE Bioinformatics and Biostatistics

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