Tools

Investigators are strongly encouraged to consult with the Study Design and Biostatistics Core, which provides FREE consultations to those planning to conduct or currently conducting clinical or translational research. Drop-in sessions for study design and statistical analysis consultation are held every Tuesday, from 11 am – 12 pm.


A secure web-based lab management application that allows users to track their frozen samples. Benefits of the tool include:

  • Automatic alerts of low number of sample aliquots;
  • Sample expiration date; and
  • Sample volume or freeze-thaw count along with reporting

FreezerPro has been independently validated and certified to be fully compliant with HIPAA and the FDAs current GLP/GMP requirements. The application is run by BUMC’s IT Department and has full technical support including data and system backups. The centrally subsidized cost is $199 per user per year, a fraction of an individual license.

More information about FreezerPro 2012 Enterprise can be found at FreezerPro.

If you would like to sign up for a license, please call the BUMC IT Service Desk at (617) 638-5914 or submit a ticket to request a license here. If you want more information about FreezerPro, please feel free to contact Bobby Sprinkle at sprinkle@bu.edu.

For a FreezerPro consultation, please contact Tasha Coughlin, tawatson@bu.edu.


The BU i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) is an NIH-funded effort to provide a standardized data architecture and informatics capabilities to combine clinical patient data with demographic, biologic, and genomic data for use in clinical research projects. An easy-to-use aggregate data query tool, i2b is accessible via the internet using the i2b2 web client. The i2b2 framework enables clinical researchers to use existing clinical data for discovery research and, when combined with IRB-approved genomic data, facilitate the design of targeted therapies for individual patients with diseases having genetic origins. Researchers at BUMC and BMC have spent the past 3 years developing and implementing i2b2 to better understand the health and healthcare of Boston’s residents.

For more regarding BU-i2b2 and user access, please contact William Adams, MD at badams@bu.edu, or Bonnie Watson at Bonnie.Watson@bmc.org.


Medrio provides browser-based software for data collection in clinical trials (electronic data capture) with no programming. Medrio’s M-edu is a new product free to universities for investigator-initiated or university-funded trials. Medrio users can create, configure, and manage their study themselves.

Other key features include:

  • CDASH form and variable libraries
  • iPad data entry
  • Risk-based monitoring
  • Robust data management tools
  • eLearning module, comprehensive user guide, and free email support
  • Fully HIPAA and 21 CRF part 11 compliant

Medrio is mostly free for academic studies, but there is a charge if your study goes over 100k data points.  A data point is one variable such as a number, date, or text field.  Total data points are calculated by multiplying each variable by the number of times it is collected per subject, then multiplying by the number of subjects.

Please visit www.m-edu.medrio.com or email info@medrio.com for more information.


CTSI offers an online Informatics for Researchers course targeted at bioscientists (T1 translational researchers), clinical scientists (T2-T3), and population health scientists (T3-T4). The course is for researchers who have no or limited background in research informatics (e.g., the discipline of using computer-based methods in biomedical and health research).

The course is divided into nine specific modules covering individual topics in research informatics and is preceded by a Preview the Course section that provides an overview of the entire course. Each module is designed to take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete, but researchers can spend more time in a particular module if necessary.

The course has been evaluated as “informative and useful” by a diverse group of BU faculty, at different stages in their careers and of varying academic ranks, with a range of knowledge of research informatics. Of those surveyed, 70% would recommend it to researchers in their field, 88% stated that they would use what they learned in their research, while another 88% said that the course made them a “better researcher.”

Course User Guide


openSESAME (Search of Expression Signatures Across Many Experiments) is a web-based tool for using patterns of gene expression to discover relationships between experimental conditions, diseases, or biological states. openSESAME is unique in that it identifies connections between datasets based on expression patterns alone, without the need for prior knowledge of experimental groups or phenotypes. To learn more please visit Bioinformatics.

Access openSESAME here
Connect with Avrum Spira, MD via BU Profiles
Connect with Adam Chapin Gower, PhD via BU Profiles
Connect with Marc Lenburg, PhD via BU Profiles


Profiles is a software tool that supports research networking and expertise searches by enabling users to locate researchers by subject matter, name, institution, department, division, faculty, etc. To learn more please visit BU Profiles.


QDS (Questionnaire Development System) is a system for developing and administering data collection applications that does not require an internet connection and consists of several modules or executable programs (*.EXE).

Design Studio
The first step in creating a QDS application is to define questionnaire specifications in the Design Studio. Your specifications include all content and settings for your questionnaire (e.g., question text, instructions, branching instructions, consistency checks). The Design Studio uses these specifications to build a QDS control file which is then used by the data collection modules to administer your data collection application. The Design Studio is also used to build instrument documentation, including hard-copy questionnaires (self- or interviewer-administered), an analytical codebook, and a log of all changes made to your specifications file (change history).

Data Collection Modules
QDS supports both manual and computer-administered data collection. Each type of data collection (Data entry, ACASI, CAPI, HAPI, and QDS-Web) is associated with its own data collection module. These modules create data files in a binary file format that may be converted to a flat ASCII file using the Questionnaire Data to ASCII conversion utility (QDA.EXE) or exported to SAS, SPSS, or MS Access using the QDS Warehouse Manager.

  • Data entry: The QDS data entry module is used to key data originally collected on a paper form and supports double entry (also called key verification or double keying) for increased quality assurance.
  • CAPI (computer-administered personal interview): The QDS CAPI module allows interviewers to conduct face-to-face interviews using the computer. The computer displays one question at a time and allows the interviewer to enter responses in real time using the keyboard, mouse, and/or touch screen. Entering the data into the computer at the time of data collection eliminates the need for a separate data entry step. The CAPI module allows you to include information/probes for the interviewer.
  • ACASI (audio computer-administered self-interview): The QDS ACASI module allows the respondent to be “interviewed” by computer. The computer displays one question at a time and allows the respondent to enter responses using the keyboard, mouse, and/or touch screen. You may choose to have the computer read the questions and responses to the respondent using a computer text-to-speech engine or recorded WAV files. Entering the data into the computer at the time of data collection eliminates the need for a separate data entry step. Because no interviewer is required to conduct an ACASI interview, use of ACASI allows a single staff member to supervise multiple interviews. ACASI is also useful for providing a private setting for sensitive information. With the QDS ACASI module, you have several options for generating audio. You can use the DEC talk text-to-speech engines, WAV file recordings of human voice, or a combination of computerized text-to-speech and WAV files in a single questionnaire. The DEC talk text-to-speech engine comes bundled with the ACASI program and supports English (American and UK), Spanish (Castilian and Latin American), French and German.
  • HAPI (handheld-assisted personal interview): A HAPI module is available for conducting interviews on a pocket PC device. The HAPI program includes all features available in CAPI and is fully integrated into the QDS system. Using Microsoft ActiveSync, QDS users can install the HAPI program on their pocket PCs and move HAPI control and data files back and forth between the desktop and handheld devices.
  • QDS-Web: the newest data collection module within the QDS suite, QDS-Web was developed to allow researchers to design, develop, and deploy complex research survey instruments on the Internet. To learn more about QDS-Web please visit the QDS-Web website.

Warehouse Manager
Once data are collected/recorded, users may import the data into the warehouse manager for data management and export data for analysis. This enables users to track the status of collected data and, for multi-site studies, whether each completed questionnaire has been shipped to and received by the data Coordinating Center. The warehouse manager also allows export of QDS questionnaire data to SPSS, SAS, Stata, or MS Access database formats for analysis and reporting.

Nova Research QDS
Pricing info

If you would like more information about programming for QDS, please contact Tasha Coughlin, tawatson@bu.edu.


A premier online survey tool, Qualtrics enables users to send and track participation invitations and reminders, display survey results in real time, graphically and statistically, and export raw data in a variety of formats (to CSV, SPSS, XML, HTML and SAS). 

Other key features include:

  • Libraries of customizable templates and question banks that can be shared by users and groups (collaboration with colleagues keeping your data safe and secure).
  • A quick survey builder guide for beginners.
  • Survey translation capabilities, allowing respondents to select a language or default to a browser language preference and tracking those selections in survey results.
  • Continuous file saving, minimizing potential data loss due to browser crashes.
  • Folders for survey organization.
  • Ability to easily insert graphics and video into surveys
  • Advanced logic and piping

Tutorials, webinars, ebooks, and help documentation are available from Qualtrics including a tutorial on Learning Qualtrics in Five Steps. Complete project configuration can be provided for a fee, for information please contact Tasha Coughlin at tawatson@bu.edu.

Request your free Qualtrics account by calling the BUMC IT Service Desk at (617) 638-5914 or via submitting a request at bumchelp@bu.edu.

Login to BU Qualtrics
Access training classes and tutorials


REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure web-based application for building and managing online surveys and databases for research. Using REDCap’s streamlined process for rapidly developing projects, users can create and design projects applying:

  1. the online method from your web browser via the Online Designer; and/or
  2. the offline method by constructing a “data dictionary” template file in Microsoft Excel, which can be later uploaded into REDCap.

Both surveys and databases (or a mixture of the two) can be built using these methods. REDCap provides audit trails for tracking data manipulation and user activity, as well as automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to Excel, PDF, and common statistical packages (SPSS, SAS, Stata and R). Also included are a built-in scheduling module and project calendar, ad hoc reporting tools, and advanced features, such as branching logic, file uploading, and calculated fields.

REDCap demonstration examples are available on the REDCap website and offer an opportunity to explore capabilities, functionality, and diverse data management features available. Available at no-cost to BU investigators, REDCap services include:

  • Access to REDCap software
  • 1-hour initial consultation per user/project
  • Bi-weekly drop-in sessions
  • Membership of Google REDCap Users Group

Additional hourly assistance and complete REDCap project configuration can be provided for a fee. For information regarding REDCap user access, additional support and services, please contact Tasha Coughlin at tawatson@bu.edu.

REDCap Drop-in sessions
1st & 3rd Thursday of each month
72 E Concord Street, Evans (E) Building-Room 732 from 1 – 3 pm
Please contact Tasha Coughlin at 
tawatson@bu.edu for more information. 

BUMC REDCap Login Page
Request user access for REDCap
REDCap User Agreement
REDCap Users Google Group
REDCap FAQs
REDCap Data Security
REDCap Version 7.6.4


A database of individuals who agree to be contacted about participating in studies at BU/BMC, which contains health and demographic information and is linked to BMC medical records to assist in matching participants to studies based on the main eligibility criteria. To learn more please visit ReSPECT Registry.


A medical campus website that lists research studies for public view, both for purposes of recruitment and/or general publicity/collaboration. To learn more, please visit Study Finder.


Studytrax is an electronic data capture system designed to manage surveys, patient registries, clinical trials, and other research designs (learn more).

The benefits of Studytrax include:

  1. The Application

    1. Publish Faster
      1. What if it was simple to query, extract, visualize and analyze data, and publish the end-results?
      2. Studytrax sets the bar in investigator productivity by completely integrating the analytical / manuscript generation process.
    2. Manage More
      1. What if the workflow, tasks, data entry and management of multiple studies could be coordinated within a single, integrated environment?
      2. Studytrax combines ease of scalability with a powerful set up reporting features to make management of multiple studies simple.
    3. Retain Longer
      1. What if subjects were engaged and motivated to participate in studies?
      2. Studytrax dramatically reduces dropouts and missing data through a portal that supports data entry, plus delivers rich, personalized content and incentives!
  2. The Support

    1. Same Day Solutions
      1. The overwhelming majority of questions are solved the same day.
    2. Up And Running
      1. Instant, cloud-based user access and easy setup process.
    3. Accessible Answers
      1. Leverage a wealth of online resources or schedule 1-on-1 assistance.
  3. The Relationship

    1. Flexible Partnership
      1. Accustom to the challenges of academic research, and adaptive to funding, requirements and timeline changes.
    2. Long-Term Perspective
      1. Partnering with investigators to produce superior projects throughout their research career.
    3. Institution Trusted
      1. Vetted by Partners’ Research Information Science & Computing (RISC) for secure, compliant research use.

Additional product details can be found at Studytrax.com.


TELEforms software is optimal for users who prefer paper forms when collecting data or don’t have the time or personnel to perform data entry. Used to develop scanable data collection forms, TELEforms maps each data point directly to a database. The software is used to read the forms, verify the accuracy of the data, and save the data and an image of the submitted form. Forms can be scanned directly into the system, or submitted by fax or file upload. This resource is offered on a fee-for-service basis.

If you would like more information about TELEforms, please contact Tasha Coughlin, tawatson@bu.edu to set up a time to evaluate whether TELEforms would be appropriate for your project and receive a cost estimate.