Integration and Collaboration

A volunteer organization made up of public and non-profit organizations in the U.S., the Interagency Collaborative to Advance Research in Epilepsy (ICARE) faces a daunting task. The number of groups working in the field of epilepsy research is vast, be they private, public, academic, non-profit, or governmental. ICARE was formed by members of these various agencies to monitor research efforts, encourage collaboration, share results, and coordinate future efforts.



Accountability, Recommendations, and a New Repository of Information


At their recent annual meeting, ICARE members determined the best way to make certain their goals could be reasonably set and met would require a central database, a repository of all funding, research efforts, results, and training resources—that is, all programs worldwide. Acting as the agency of oversight, the NIH National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH NINDS) approached WebFirst to assist with the design of this ambitious database.

The goals of the project were outlined first. It quickly became clear that in order to be most effective, the data was going to need to be classified in multiple categories, defined as the Research Portfolio Ontology. Namely, records would be categorized by:

  • Research type, which is further divided into Basic, Translational, and Clinical.
  • Research classification (Etiology, mechanism of disease, prevention, early detection/diagnosis/prognosis, treatment, outcomes, and model systems).
  • Epilepsy and/or seizure conditions.

Effecting Advancement for Change

Drupal 7 and apache Solr (search platform) provided the perfect framework for us to design and build the database. Working closely with the NIH NINDS, we designed the layout and user interface aspects, then organized and migrated thousands of records on studies related to neurological diseases. With the variety of information presented, one feature that we emphasized in particular was data visualization. Using this feature, users can convert search results into visual charts and graphs.
An ambitious group like ICARE needed, and deserved, a robust solution. We are proud to have provided one with the new ICARE Epilepsy Research Portfolio.

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