Perceptual Learning

How will PennOmics help Penn Researchers?

An easy way to understand how PennOmics may help Penn Researchers is to examine its main components: the Cohort Explorer, the Omics Database, and the Oracle Health Sciences Network.

The Cohort Explorer is a web-based search tool that enables researchers to identify certain patients with selected demographics or attributes that have had specific medical diagnoses or procedures.

The resulting pool of patients from his search is called a “cohort”. There are at least 2 reasons a researcher may use search for a cohort. He may use the number of patients in the cohort to determine the viability of a research project or support his case in a grant proposal to perform a clinical study. Researchers with an ongoing study may also use the Cohort Explorer to recruit patients into that study. However, IRB approval is required to obtain the identifying information needed to contact those patients.

The Cohort Explorer is supplemented by the Omics Data Bank. This database contains the results of genetic sequencing and gene expression tests in greater detail than are typically reported clinically. It also collects and links reference data on the human genome[1], documented proteins, and known mutations that are currently scattered in multiple public databases into one place. With a combination of clinical studies and genetic analysis, researchers may observe the genes or variants that a subset of patients express within a certain disease and identify targets for future drug development. Clinicians could begin to piece together information about the profile of a specific patient’s disease and design a treatment for that patient based on what has been successful in other patients with that same profile. So, by examining the genomic and phenotypic characteristics of a patient’s disease and creating a specific treatment plan based on that profile, the clinician has created “Personalized Medicine”.

A crucial part of research is the ability to contribute to the “Body of Knowledge”. PennOmics will have the facility for researchers to do so via the Oracle Health Sciences Network. This is a cloud-based repository where researchers and other industry stakeholders can share knowledge and continue to make strides in advancing medical research. It also encourages collaborations that enable more comprehensive and meaningful research.

Domain Available
Tumor registry
Velos Study
Vital Signs
Research Genetic/Genomics (Contributing Labs)

[1] A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. The human genome was completely sequenced in 2003 as part of the Human Genome Project. For more information on the Human Genome Project, see