The Zimmerman Analytic Platform (ZAP) is a collaborative research platform for investigators seeking to discover the biological and genetic determinants of Von Willebrand Disease. This was a novel project for the Zimmerman Program.

Requirements Link to heading

The Zimmerman Program needed a centralized hub for all research data, communication, and collaboration. The program comprised 5 research groups spread across 3 countries who had been working separately for decades, collecting data on different cohorts using their own tools and methods. A collaborative data platform would ensure that all investigators had access to all program data and studies.

Investigators needed a way to

  • access, filter, and visualize project data, including data which was similar but collected using distinct methods and metrics
  • connect clinical data to whole genome sequencing data and bioinformatic study results
  • request new studies be performed (based on specific cohort or other factors)

Bioinformaticists needed to be able to

  • upload new study results
  • respond to requests for new studies from investigators
  • share research findings and hypotheses

Considerations Link to heading

The clinical data was collected at dozens of sites by different groups, spanning a few decades. Methods of collection were different, making some information scientifically distinct while still interesting to consider together.

The Database Link to heading

ZAP Database The ZAP Database is divided into 7 sections:

  • Requests – where new study requests are written, updated, and removed
  • Study Design – accepted requests are fleshed out here, detailing type of study, quality controls, and general information (eg, when the study was performed)
  • Results – genomic study results data, separated by type of study and connected to the study design
  • Findings – high-level preliminary findings to validate and study further
  • Clinical Data – de-identified patient data collected in clinical studies, connected to genomic studies to describe cohorts
  • ZAP Infrastructure – everything needed to run the platform itself
  • Zimmerman Admin – for meetings and internal documents

Workflow Link to heading

ZAP enables analysts and investigators to access genomics results data sets quickly through the browser. Investigators can use ZAP to request that analysts in the bioinformatics core perform new genomic studies, and analysts are able to reply to these requests, with addtional explanation if needed. Once a request is accepted, the study is initialized in ZAP and the study hypothesis and design are available for review. Analysts are then able to update the active research study with additional design details, flag any possible complications or concerns, post updates about the study progress, and eventually upload a final report and results data.

User Interface Design Link to heading

ZAP user accounts were either marked as Investigator (read access to study and clinical data, write access to request) or Analyst (additional write access to study design and results).

ZAP: Investigator View in Light Mode Investigator View: Main Portal (shown in light mode). The Main Portal is the first page any user sees upon successful login. It displays a summary of recent updates, if any, a list of open requests, a list of active research, and in the case of an investigator account, any recently-completed research.

ZAP: Analyst View in Dark Mode Analyst View: Study Request Handling (shown in dark mode). This is an example of what the second stage of handling a request would look like, from the view of an analyst in the Bioinformatics Core. The page displays request details (such as type of study requested, and the discovery objective) as well as options for how to respond to the request. In this case, the selector for “Accept with Modifications” has been chosen, which brings up a form with design options for the analyst to modify the options presented.