Completed Projects

Sentinel Node Oncology Foundation (SNOF) Statistical Center


SNOF recruits medical institutions to participate in the Sentinel Lymph Node Working Group (SLNWG); The SNOF Statistics Center (SNOFSC) collects and manages cancer clinical data from SLNWG members. Data reside in the SNOF database, which the SNOFSC custom-designed for this application. The database allows for Web-based input of user data, but is password-protected to ensure security and integrity of data. The long-term goal of the SNOF database is to collect sufficient data to build statistical models for prediction of disease course in cancer patients undergoing selective sentinel lymph node dissection, with the goal of facilitating the development of personalized medicine.

Data Security

The SNOF database is housed in Vanderbilt Medical Center's secure data center. The site is physically safe, requiring proper authorization to gain physical access and kept under constant surveillance. The server data center is designed to keep servers in optimal running condition and protect them from many forms of disaster.

Data backups for the SNOF database are handled by the VICC-Biostat IT staff. Backups are performed daily (incremental), weekly (full), and monthly (off-site). The daily backups capture all changes to the system in the last 24 hours. Each week the entire system is backed up to create a new point of reference for the daily incremental backups. Once a month a full backup is transported off-site, to a secure holding location. Six months of backups are held off-site for safekeeping. Off-site backups ensure that even if major catastrophe befalls the Vanderbilt Medical Center, SNOF's data will be safe and secure.

NCI Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid

caBIG Bronze Requirement

Programming and Message Interface

  • Documentation of the Interface itself.
  • Documentation of any files or message formats that are imported or exported by the system.
  • Description of the usage of the interface.


  • Description of the terminology sources that have been implemented, including a statement that they have been reviewed and found to meet the six required criteria described in the caBIG compatibility Guidelines.
  • Description on how and where controlled terminologies have been implemented in the system for the purpose of enhancing semantic interoperability.

Common Data Elements

  • Statement about which controlled terminology sources were used to construct the data element descriptors.
  • Complete listing of the data element descriptors themselves. The listing must be providing a mapping between the data elements and the information model.

Information Model

  • A diagrammatic information model in electronic format that describes the data information handled by the product or system.

Our Team

Yu Shyr, Ph.D., director
Seng-jaw Soong, Ph.D., co-director
Lynne Berry, Ph.D., deputy director
Gregory D. (Dan) Ayers, M.S., associate director
David P. Biagi, B.S., lead developer
Will Gray, B.S.
Mingsheng (Mike) Guo, Ph.D.
Bashar Shakhtour, B.S.
Joan Zhang, M.S.
Zhiguo (Alex) Zhao, M.S.
(For more information, please contact David at 615-936-5175)