ASRB database 2.0

ASRB database 2.0

After 12 months of hard work and dedication, the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB) is happy to announce that upgrades to the database have been completed.

When the ASRB received a grant from eResearch funding body NECTAR to upgrade their research database, Professor Frans Hensken, Associated Professor Carmel Loughland, Dr David Paul and Jason Bridge from the University of Newcastle approached IT support agency Intersect to help make version 2.0 a reality. The changes were numerous and far-reaching and included improvements to several key areas of the database. “Essentially, the changes we’ve implemented will reduce workload and streamline many of the manual processes, so the improvements are valuable not just to the researchers who access information stored at the Bank, but to the volunteers who participate in the research as well,” says Jason.

It’s an exciting accomplishment that should allow more efficient use of the database and increase the benefit of the information stored within it. “Currently there are ethical restrictions on when and how often we can contact participants, but now the database tells us when participants are able to be contacted again and sends out a letter,” Jason explains. “We’ve wrapped up the recruitment and clinical assessment part of the project, so this improvement will allow us to make better use of the information we currently have.”

The site also now includes a section that details the projects that are currently seeking participants as well as descriptive statistics that provide an overview for researchers of the information that is currently available. These updates automatically occur nightly, which ensures that all information is current and accurate. There are already plans for the next round of upgrades to the system, which should be in place by early 2014, and include creating a unique login for researchers as well as a user manual to explain how to utilise each area of the site.

Getting the database to the next level was a long 12-month project that required constant attention to detail while also keeping an eye on the bigger picture – a feat that could only be achieved by an incredibly dedicated team. “Working with David and Intersect has been great,” Jason says. “I’m really happy with the team. Already we’ve foreseen a few small problems and Intersect have come up with solutions to them. It’s great.”


So what’s new and improved in the database?

The upgrade now:

  • Allows accurate tracking of volunteer participation in projects
  • Has an added online resource application system
  • Has an upgraded query builder to reflect almost any inclusion or exclusion criteria a researcher can come up with
  • Allows researchers to access approved data and research participant information
  • Simplifies the blood product management section
  • Stores and queries genetic data
  • Allows for bulk download of large MRI files
  • Includes information on projects that are recruiting volunteers
  • Includes a descriptive statistics section for researchers

Thanks to all involved who made this comprehensive project a success.


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Page last updated: 23:53  3 December 2013