IT Resources and Facilities for Researchers (ITS Standardized Grant Language)

Researchers have access to the following information technology resources at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC):

Data Center

UTHSC Information Technology Service (ITS) owns, hosts, and supports the state-of-the-art ITS Data Center. The Center has electronic power conditioning, UPS battery backup for short-term outages, and a backup diesel generator for long-term outages. The Data Center also has fire suppression, temperature and humidity control, card-key-controlled access, and video monitoring. The building has after-hours access controls and is monitored by the UTHSC Campus Police.

The Data Center hosts and supports more than 300 servers, providing enterprise-class managed storage service to mission-critical applications. Host operating systems supported include MacOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows on both physical and virtual server environments. Connectivity to campus storage can be achieved through fiber channel host bus adapters or via Ethernet to our storage area network.

UTHSC has a Globus data transfer node with 73 terabytes of storage that researchers can use for transferring large amounts of data over the 10-gigabit Internet 2 circuit.

For disaster recovery, ITS provides for full business resumption for server applications in the event of a major and prolonged outage of service. Disaster recovery storage services are contracted through a bonded, offsite third party and arranged specific to a server application.


A 10-gigabit switched network with fully redundant 40-gigabyte network cores provides internet connectivity to both the Internet and Internet 2. A campus-wide Wi-Fi network utilizing 802.11n/ac Wireless Access Points (WAPs) provides connectivity for all mobile devices. Network traffic crossing the UTHSC network boundary is examined by redundant Palo Alto Next Generation firewalls for multiple anomalies and malware.

Access from outside the UTHSC network for public data occurs via known web server ports and services. VPN (Virtual Private Network) access is available to authorized users via a university account called a network ID (NetID). ITS also utilizes Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), a network access control appliance, to ensure any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone connected to the campus network is placed in the appropriate VLAN (a segment of the network with special rules) and meets the associated connection requirements for current anti-virus software and software patch levels. Device registration is

required at the time of ISE installation and requires a University NetID as well as agreement with the UT Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources policy.

Networking equipment in all locations across campus is housed in dedicated and locked wiring closets, with battery backups and access limited to UTHSC Network Services personnel.


For large, high-speed transfers of research data, UTHSC uses the Globus Connect Server, which has a 10- gigabit/sec network connection and sits in the ScienceNet DMZ. This network is situated on the outside of the campus firewalls, allowing for unhindered 10-gigabit/sec speeds to remote Internet 2 destinations. Globus currently has 73 terabytes of raw storage expandable to more than 200TB of storage using high-capacity hard drives.

High-Performance Scientific Computing

The High Performance and Scientific Computing group provides research computing resources and services to the University of Tennessee community. The resources provided include the newly branded Infrastructure for Scientific Applications and Advanced Computing (ISAAC). ISAAC is made possible through a partnership between UTHSC and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK). ISAAC contains resources for research involving sensitive information (ISAAC Secure Enclave) and non-sensitive information processing (ISAAC Next Generation).

ISAAC Secure Enclave contains 24 compute nodes, 1,280 cores, 5,376 GB RAM, and a 1.7 petabyte Lustre high-performance parallel file system. ISAAC Next Generation cluster comprises 48 compute nodes, 2,304 cores, 9,216 GB RAM, and a 2.3 petabyte Lustre high-performance parallel file system storage. All clusters come with various management, login, and storage server nodes.

Support for using these resources includes system administration support, scientific computing support, documentation, training, software installation and maintenance, and other support services. The ISAAC Next Generation can also be accessed using a web browser through the Open OnDemand application. Data transfers are supported via SFTP, SCP, GSISSH, and Globus Web transfers utilizing data transfer nodes of UTHSC and UTK.

The ISAAC Secure Enclave is configured and compliant with the security requirements for storing and processing protected health information as specified in written security plans following applicable HIPAA regulations and UT policies, including following the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Risk Management Framework and NIST 800 series publications. The UT Secure Enclave is configured to store, process, and protect at-rest and in-transit data following the NIST Special Publication 800-53 Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations specifications, as specified by the DHHS HIPAA Security Rule Crosswalk to NIST Cybersecurity Framework

document. The security plan sets the FIPS-199 information security categorization, the 17 control family policies, and specification of 159 management, operational, and technical security controls, including but not limited, to multi-factor authentication, encryption at rest and in transit, border protection (firewall), roles and separation of duties, least privilege, remote access control via VPN, continuous monitoring, security awareness training, and configuration management.


REDCap is a mature, secure web platform for building and managing online databases and surveys. REDCap's streamlined process for rapidly creating and designing projects offers a vast array of tools that can be tailored to virtually any data collection strategy. REDCap provides automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to Excel and common statistical packages (SPSS, SAS, Stata, R), as well as a built-in project calendar, a scheduling module, ad hoc reporting tools, and advanced features such as branching logic, file uploading, and calculated fields. The system, which is located in the ITS Data Center, is flexible and easy.

Cerner Health Facts

The Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMI) is now able to provide UTHSC researchers and affiliates access to the CERNER Health Facts® (CHF) database. Since 2000, CERNER Health Facts® database has captured and stored de-identified, longitudinal electronic health record (EHR) patient data, aggregated and organized to facilitate analyses and reporting. It currently contains data on 63 million patients and almost 380 million encounters.

Unlike claims data, which covers primarily billing data, the CHF database is a comprehensive dataset. In addition to the diagnosis and procedure codes that are typically available in claims data, CHF also includes encounter-level admission and discharge information, patient demographics, hospital attributes, medication dosage and administration information, lab test orders and results, and surgical case information with detailed timestamps. Patients also are assigned a unique ID, so it is possible to follow patients through episodes of care provided at any Cerner-affiliated hospital or system or conduct longitudinal analysis on a group of patients.

Truven Health MarketScan® Research Databases

The Truven Health MarketScan® research databases capture person-specific clinical utilization, expenditures, and enrollment across inpatient, outpatient, prescription drug, and carve-out services. The data come from a selection of large employers, health plans, and government and public organizations. MarketScan links paid claims and encounter data to detailed patient information across sites and types of providers and over time. The annual medical databases include private-sector health data from approximately 100 payers.

Historically, more than 500 million claim records are available in the MarketScan databases. These data represent the medical experience of insured employees and their dependents for active employees, early retirees, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuees, and Medicare-eligible retirees with employer-provided Medicare supplemental plans.

Nielson Data

The size, scope, breadth, and longitudinal time frame of Nielson data make it unique. This dataset covers a wide range of products, categories, retail channels, stores, and geographic markets in the United States. The following marketing datasets are available: Consumer Panel Data, Retail Scanner Data, Ad Intel Data, and PanelView Surveys. Researchers can integrate the consumer-panel and retail-scanner datasets to enable additional types of research. By integrating these two datasets, researchers can determine not only the items purchased by panelists, but also the availability, prices, and promotions associated with other products that were on the shelf at the same time. Although it varies by year, 45 to 70 percent of the stores in the Consumer Panel Data can be matched to scanner data.


With over three million patient population around the state of Tennessee, the Research Enterprise Data Warehouse (rEDW) is consolidated data from multiple clinical sources, which provides a unified view of care a patient received. It facilitates researchers and clinicians to retrieve patient and encounter level data. The rEDW contains data on patient demographics, laboratory test results, pharmacy information, pathology reports, hospital admission and discharge dates, ICD-9/10 codes, CPT codes, discharge summaries, and progress notes.

Currently, rEDW contains data (starting from 01/01/2014) from the following:

  • Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
  • UT Medical Center Knoxville
  • University Clinical Health
  • St. Thomas, Nashville
  • Erlanger Health Systems, Chattanooga

We are in the process of receiving data from

  • Hillcrest Healthcare, Knoxville


TriNetX is a cloud-based health research platform, which provides a visual and tabular data summary of the rEDW (Research Enterprise Datawarehouse). It contains standardized aggregated pediatric and adult healthcare data, and it can be used as a preparation to research tool to identify patient cohorts. It

combines real-time access to longitudinal clinical data with state-of-the-art analytics to optimize protocol design and feasibility.

TriNetX is available at no cost to all UTHSC faculty, staff, and students through UTHSC CBMI.


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is participating in an NIH-funded network, the Genomic Information Commons (GIC), a consortium of academic medical centers funded by the NIH to build collaboration tools and protocols for genomic research. As part of this project, we employ PIC-SURE (Patient Information Commons Standard Unification of Research Elements) platform to integrate Genotype and Phenotype data and for sharing aggregate patient counts meeting defined clinical and genomic search criteria across multiple sites. These queries enable approved researchers to develop and refine research hypotheses by investigating correlations between consented genomic data and thorough phenotypic data derived from the Electronic Health Records at participating institutions.

Other Research-Related Applications


Qualtrics is a cloud-based survey service to create surveys/forms, collect, store, and analyze data, and produce reports. This UTHSC-supported service is:

  • No cost for faculty, staff, and students
  • Supported by UTHSC
  • Secure: HIPAA and FERPA-compliant
  • Powerful and available 24/7 from anywhere

Web and Video Conferencing

Zoom ( and Microsoft Teams are the university’s web-based video conferencing solutions. All faculty and staff at the UTHSC have access to a Zoom Pro (licensed) account, which allows for meetings longer than 45 minutes and for up to 300 participants. UTHSC has created a HIPAA sub-account to ensure Zoom meetings, webinars, and courses are safer. Recordings of Zoom meetings are stored within Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint, but not on the Zoom platform, for additional security over HIPAA or FERPA data. UTHSC also has access to the Zoom Webinar license, which allows for up to 1,000 participants.

Zoom can be used as either an installed application or a browser-based web interface on computers, laptops, and smart phones. Additionally, Zoom allows users to connect by dialing into a toll-free phone number for audio only. Content from video connected devices can be easily shared into the video conference from any connected participant. UTHSC helps to ensure Zoom is used with the latest best practices that reduces the risks to the numerous known cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Microsoft Teams is also used extensively across campus for chat, meetings, web-based video conferencing, and file storage. The UT system maintains a business associate agreement (BAA) with Microsoft to ensure the protection of stored health information.

Productivity Software

UTHSC utilizes the Microsoft 365 suite of apps. Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive are the preferred tools for data and document storage and sharing. UTHSC ITS funds these tools for the campus provides training and support and maintains a BAA with Microsoft to ensure the protection of stored health information. These tools are powerful, cloud-based solutions that are available 24/7 from anywhere and on any device. SharePoint and OneDrive are the preferred method for sharing data and documents with external colleagues. SharePoint and OneDrive are designed to work well with the entire Microsoft 365 suite of apps, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams.

Research Informatics Core

We have an interdisciplinary team of bioinformatics research scientists, medical informatics scientists, and data architects who would support grant writing, study design, data analysis, data management, and manuscript preparation through the life cycle of a research project. Our computer programming expertise includes but is not limited to SQL, Python, SAS, R, UNIX shell scripting, and High-performance scientific computing.


Article ID: 136696
Mon 11/8/21 10:28 PM
Mon 6/20/22 12:10 PM