MSC provides support for application design, development and maintenance, and software engineering support. MSC’s software support aids the continued growth and evolution of Government relational and non-relational databases and information systems. MSC implements and maintains new methods of biomedical data management, computing, retrieval, and analysis. We also re-engineer key system components to improve performance, functionality and reliability. MSC supports clients in moving away from custom-built and proprietary solutions for biomolecular data retrieval and data analysis tools. We collaborate to prototype and re-engineer key systems utilizing open source technologies. MSC help implement continuous integration, build management, and source code management practices. Additionally, we help to make key tools used by our clients and their end-users cloud friendly and accessible, including data processing pipelines. Consequently, our software application development and computer support spans a wide spectrum of data sources, serving a specialized and broad community of users, and is responsive to the rapidly evolving fields of molecular biology, genomics, and genetics. These support efforts include full project life-cycle, from requirements definition, to system and application design, integration, deployment, quality control, maintenance and end-user support.
Well versed in both applications development and infrastructure operations, MSC helps clients navigate the DevOps movement to speed delivery, improve quality, and reduce costs. We apply our technical capabilities to getting the right tools and procedures in place – cloud infrastructure, testing and release automation, configuration management, monitoring, and continuous integration. And, we apply our communications capabilities to build bridges and increase collaboration and cooperation among teams – not just developers and operations teams but across the whole enterprise: Business owners, security, end users, finance, etc. We apply a variety of agile and lean methodologies to pull it all together, incorporating best practices related to frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban to ensure sustained improvement and progression toward DevOps goals. We focus on getting teams, which previously competed for resources, to use the tools - such as Microsoft SharePoint and Atlassian JIRA Agile – for project planning, task management, and collaboration, promoting visibility and understanding in the process. We introduce development approaches, such as sprints and scrums, to stakeholder teams throughout the organization to facilitate better planning, coordination, and issue management.
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, & Data Analytics
MSC supports our client's efforts to develop innovative computational approaches to biomedical information management and analysis. MSC supports projects like bibliographical databases, nucleotide sequence databases, single nucleotide polymorphism databases, sequence analysis tools, databases for spectral karyotyping and comparative genomic hybridization data, sequence data flow and processing, genome assembly and annotation, 3-dimensional structures viewers, integrated genome analysis, and many others. MSC provides the necessary expertise in fields of interest such as molecular biology, structural biology, computational biology and chemistry, genomics, statistical analysis, data mining, bioinformatics, natural language processing, image processing, data visualization, and machine-assisted indexing. MSC architects data pipelines, coordinates data intake and data flow, and develops the computational infrastructure to analyze and provide access to data from genome-wide association studies, high-throughput sequencing, expression arrays and other sources.
Scientific Data Management
MSC supports our clients in managing enormous quantities of biomedical information. MSC manages the collection, verification, formatting, indexing, annotation, validation, and quality control of protein and nucleotide sequences and other biomedical and molecular biology data. This includes developing and implementing tools, processes, and data pipelines for sequence alignment, genome assembly, annotation and analysis, database loading, extraction and preparation of data for distribution. MSC personnel incorporate best practices and innovation in every project we execute. We participate in requirements collection, design review, coding, testing, troubleshooting, support, maintenance and enhancements for our custom developed software solutions. MSC has demonstrated experience in the preparation and management of technical documentation extending from user requirement documentation to workflow and system diagrams to software interface mockups. This technical documentation has been utilized to frame the design of software solutions and enhance communication among team members and end-users, as well as an unmatched knowledge source for training of new developers. MSC utilizes its background in business process analysis consultation to efficiently guide user feedback sessions and troubleshoot user issues. In doing so, we establish close, ongoing working relationships with the user community and the researchers, more often than not, generating a consistent flow of enhancement requests or revisions.
MSC supports our clients in the construction of internal and external Cloud services using a variety of Cloud platforms. The use of Cloud services is a very important development as it allows users anywhere in the world to perform complicated analysis without having expensive computational devices. MSC engineers create standalone deployable solutions for many of our client's most popular applications which can reside on any machine anywhere in the world. This allows end-users worldwide to use client services without worrying about overloading internal systems. This development comes at a very important time as Government Health IT users continuously increase in number. In addition, MSC is able to provide solutions in which operating costs are shared with end-users which is extremely important for prevailing budgetary reasons.
Database Design, Programming, & Maintenance
MSC provides database assistance to our clients for system enhancements and new systems development, including but not limited to logical data modeling, normalizing, denormalizing, and physical table design. We create and maintain application objects, application data, and database links. MSC analyzes schemas, tables and/or indexes, and taking online/offline rollback segments and table spaces. MSC provides coding, design, testing, and implementing database programming capabilities, including functions, procedures, constraints, and triggers. We develop database queries and assist with database intergration. We support DB design, maintenance, and programming and SQL query support for a variety of proprietary and open source solutions, including but not limited to Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, MS Access, and FileMaker databases.
High Performance Computing
MSC provides high-performance computing services to several Federal Civilian Agencies. We coordinate with the government infrastructure teams to customize command-line applications to run in a cluster computing environment, develop portals and bioinformatics scripts to provide web-based intuitive interfaces to enable access to computationally intensive applications that can be run on the cluster. Our interfaces implement a web-based workflow editor that allows users to create work-flows for automated data analysis and implement role-based security to allow individual users to use their specific workflows, track their jobs and share results with other users. MSC develops systems to manage and administer remote and distributed execution of a large number of standalone, parallel or interactive compute jobs. The systems also manage and schedule the allocation of distributed resources such as processors, memory, and software licenses for various applications installed on the cluster, as well as an electronic notification mechanism for job status and results delivery. MSC personnel run and manage large-scale time- and processor-intensive analyses upon request, create automated workflows (pipelines), and provide scientific consultation to educate the users on the results obtained from the analyses run on the cluster. Additionally, we track and document usage statistics and develop/implement strategies to increase its usage if needed, as well as track and document user satisfaction with deployed applications.
MSC helps clients grow their computational infrastructure to accommodate tremendous amounts of data, distributed compute farms, and hosting of the world’s most trafficked websites. We also work to implement redundancy within each data center to ensure that client services retain high availability. We provide our clients with multifaceted storage solutions for temporary storage, daily storage, and rapidly accessed storage within high-computational environments. We ensure durability of distributed compute environment by improving fault tolerance, adding reliable diagnostics, implementing configuration and error reporting options, and improved mechanisms of data blob synchronization. We also support the configuration management (CM) of large heterogeneous enterprise environments. We ensure the key tenets of CM are practiced including but not limited to logging and analysis of change requests, charge advisory board procedures, planning implementation and contingency, tracking change to completion, and auditing. We perform regular risk assessment of all processes, procedures, and changes within the our client environments. MSC manages the environments on which the custom developed software, GOTS and COTS products are developed, tested and installed. MSC also provides scientific service desk support for heterogeneous laboratory environments. We provide tier 1-4 customer support regardless of laboratory location. We provide onsite support of conferences and meetings within the United States and remote support for global meetings and conferences as required.
MSC provides support for development of new reports using business intelligence tools as well as migrating existing reports. Our work includes design, programming, configuration management, accessibility remediation and compliance, and unit testing and management. MSC monitors any proposed schema changes to client databases and meta layers, and evaluates the potential impact of these changes on the final reports. We propose modifications to the reports to correct for these database changes and implement the required changes. In addition, we perform complex data analysis and reporting inclusive of multidimensional representation of business data trends/visualizations using business object tools and other data mining and analytical tools.MSC provides support for development of new reports using business intelligence tools as well as migrating existing reports.
Basic & Clinical Research
MSC uses basic and clinical research to develop the tools and information needed to understand infection transmission and disease processes as well as improve treatment and prevention. Many of the studies we conduct involve extensive use of molecular biology to understand DNA, RNA, and proteins, the interactions among them, how they are regulated, and their impact on cell function. We use cell biology to study the physiological properties, structure, components, environmental reactions, life cycle, division, and death of cells. These studies are done on both the microscopic and molecular levels. Our applications of biochemistry are aimed at examining the structures and functions of cellular components or biomolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, metabolites, and natural biological products. We use biochemical applications to study the functions of cells under normal and abnormal conditions. MSC also uses genetics, neuroscience, and epidemiology in our biomedical basic science research.
Clinical Trials Support
MSC manages and supports Phase I and Phase II clinical trials testing. We assist with planning, conducting, and overseeing clinical trials protocols for an array of infectious diseases. MSC is involved in management and implementation of these clinical studies as well as planning, conducting, overseeing, and reporting of domestic and international vaccine trials. We are involved in all areas of patient recruitment in clinical trials, including development, implementation, and evaluation of volunteer strategies and outreach efforts to increase the awareness of, and enrollment into, clinical trials. MSC’s data management responsibilities for clinical trials include design, development, deployment, and support of software for the collection and organization of data and for performing data analysis and interpretation. MSC provides logistics support for clinical trials in coordinating patient activities, tracking volunteers and patients, and processing and tracking samples.
MSC works on developing vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases. We use basic science to develop vaccines through studies of candidate vaccines in animals and humans. Those efforts include the development of attenuated strains of infectious agents, the detection of naturally occurring genetic mutants, and the genetic engineering of recombinant forms of those agents for use as candidate vaccines. For example, we study HIV-infected human T lymphocytes to discover new strategies for developing an HIV-1 vaccine, and we apply bioinformatics to the design of an HIV-1 vaccine. We study vaccine formulation and various methods of conjugating antigens to carriers. We analyze and measure the properties and advantages of a variety of adjuvants used in vaccination. MSC monitors all processes involved in vaccine production and design databases to track information from those processes. We develop project specific plans and timelines needed to execute immunologic observational studies and vaccine projects through Phase II clinical trials. MSC works on developing vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases.
High Containment Research
MSC provides scientific support to the high containment facilities for the Government's Biodefense Initiative. MSC’s virologists perform a wide variety of complex procedures and techniques in support of Ebola and MERS research. These procedures include cell culture, virus growth and titration, cell based assays, DNA isolation, DNA purification, DNA sequencing and analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, gene cloning, RNA transcription, other RNA manipulation, running and developing qRT-PCR assays, and manipulation of radioactive isotopes. We are responsible for designing, planning, conducting, and publishing experiments, including setting up experiments and proposing new studies. Our staff was instrumental in proposing a new project to sequence the Rousettus aegyptiacus bat transcriptome to identify certain markers in bats that allow Ebola to persist in these animals. The MERS plates prepared by our staff were used in Saudi Arabia by the Columbia University investigators to identify the MERS host. MSC provides scientific support to the high containment facilities for the Government's Biodefense Initiative.
Strategic Planning & Analysis
MSC closely collaborates with clients to ensure quality of services, timely delivery, effective cost and risk control, and change management. MSC has become a trusted advisor in research and implementation of new tools and technologies to further biomedical missions. MSC provides essential strategic planning and program analysis at the program and project level. We provide extensive financial planning by tracking anticipated growth, projecting increases, potential overages, and tying the fiscal year to current and anticipated funding. MSC is also proactive in applying new advances in technology. We stay current with emerging technologies, hardware and software solutions, tools and development frameworks. MSC leverages technologies such as cloud computing to provide cost effective and scalable computational infrastructure and reliable off-site backup capabilities. We advise on integrating automated systems, configuration tools for rapid deployment of new equipment, and efficient systems administration solutions to support sustainable long-term return on IT investments.MSC closely collaborates with clients to ensure quality of services, timely delivery, effective cost and risk control, and change management.
MSC personnel organize seminars and outreach events throughout the year in order to engage new clients and cultivate new opportunities. As Government biomedical priorities have increased, MSC has bolstered its efforts to seek scientific collaboration and provide training to create sustainable research facilities. Throughout any given year, our team presents collaborative and development projects, organizes seminars and outreach events, and actively promotes the use of bioinformatics tools and techniques. We not only present our data, but we invite key stakeholders within the Government community, academia, and the private sectors to present their data and speak at various sponsored events. We’ve explored data science and unlocking the power of “Big Data” in 2013, we joined the data transparency revolution in 2014 by presenting on “Open Science”, and in 2015 “Science in 3D” highlighted the significance of data visualizations, imaging, microscopy, modeling and printing in the realm of 3 dimensions. Poster presentations and speaking engagements are also opportunities for our team to disseminate their knowledge and collaborative expertise to the masses. MSC personnel organize seminars and outreach events throughout the year in order to engage new clients and cultivate new opportunities.
MSC’s experienced team provides clinical and biomedical terminology development from creation of content to publication of terminology resources. For our clients we create biomedical terminologies (thesauri) and consolidate multiple resources into one common format (metathesauri), as well as support the publication of numerous standalone terminologies. MSC also provides support to develop editing tools, web browsers, APIs and other resources that help end-users exploit the terminologies supported by our clients. MSC’s complete services include vocabulary editing & distribution, integration of terminology with vocabularies, editing and/or review of terminologies, conversion of terminologies, description logic modeling, browser software testing, quality control, terminology publication, metathesaurus production, technical and product support, maintaining scientific accuracy, and coordination support.MSC’s experienced team provides clinical and biomedical terminology development from creation of content to publication of terminology resources.
MSC Project Managers are responsible for software application development, computational infrastructure, and research projects for a variety of Federal Agencies. We utilize many PM methodologies such as Traditional, Agile, and Hybrid approaches to design, develop, and test new features, products, and improvements. We ensure that integration, production, and deployment follows proven best practices and processes to guarantee quality and to ensure end-user access without any disruption. Project Managers communicate with stakeholders, collect functional requirements, analyze and define milestones, analyze available resources, breakdown tasks, manage cross-functional teams, monitor progress, track tasks, oversee quality assurance, ensure regulatory compliance, and manage smooth integration and deployment.
MSC provides dedicated program management support for numerous critical health IT initiatives. Our management approach is specifically developed and tailored for each client's needs and focuses on achieving two practical goals: 1) prepare, marshal, and dedicate resources for known requirements and anticipated future needs expediently and efficiently; 2) ensure all contract, project, and program support mechanisms are easily adaptable to ensure responsiveness regardless of any potential change(s) to information technology or research needs or requirements.