Version 5.7

TIES is gaining a new version – 5.7. This new version will launch at the beginning of July and will include better visualization of grouped data items, support for de-identifying data fields in structured data, and improved structured data loading performance and grouped data items. Also, TIES will see a DelimitedFileImporter that supports nested directories with descriptor file detection. All of these features will help speed up the performance of the TIES system and make using the software much easier.

New Lead P.I. Dr. Michael Becich

As TIES gains steam with a forthcoming 5.7 version launch, we will also be welcoming our new lead PI Michael Becich, M.D., Ph.D. Mike has worked with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine since 1991 and is now the Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. He is also professor of pathology in information sciences, telecommunications, and clinical/translational sciences. Additionally, he is Associate Director for the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Director of the Center for Commercial Application of Healthcare Data, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Informatics in the Health Sciences. His current work is on data commons, particularly clinical phenotyping of patients for personalized medicine, tissue banking and pathology informatics, and other aspects of data sharing to enable clinical bioinformatics. A project that is relevant to the mission of TIES is the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank. U Penn (Feldman) and RPCI (Guadoioso) are partners in that effort as well as TIES Cancer Research Network. We cannot wait to see what new and exciting ideas Mike will bring to the project.

Saying Goodbye to Rebecca Jacobson

Unfortunately, with our new addition, we must also say goodbye to one of the founding members of our team: Rebecca Jacobson, M.D., M.S. Jacobson started TIES in 2002 as part of the Shared Pathology Informatics Network. Since then she has received several grants for the TIES production and helped expand the software to include TIES Cancer Research Network (TCRN). She will be taking over as Vice President of Analytics for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The role includes helping UPMC to leverage its vast data assets and develop innovative new technologies using Natural Language Processing (NLP). So while her work at TIES is complete, she will still continue to improve NLP software. We will be sad to see her go, but know that she will have even a greater impact on health care in her new role.

What this Means for TIES

With all of these new changes, TIES will continue to grow the same way that it always has – by gaining new users and increasing the number of nodes for the TCRN. The software itself will also expand to include cancer registry data as well as pathology and radiology images. The data will include patient histories, diagnoses, treatment plans, and statuses for cancer patients in the United States.

What are your hopes for the future with TIES? What do you think about all the new changes to TIES?

We appreciate your feedback. Feel free to give Mike a call at any time – 412-606-6453 or e-mail him at

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