ChRIS - A Web-based NeuroImaging and Informatics System for Collecting, Organizing, Processing, Visualizing and Sharing of Medical Data

Rudolph Pienaar, PhD
Technical Director
Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center

Staff Scientist
Boston Children's Hospital

Instructor in Radiology
Harvard Medical School


overview of talk

traditional slides...

live interaction

ancilliary projects

overview of talk

ChRIS is:

  • [Boston's] "Children's Research Informatics System"
  • a web-based research/clinical workflow manager
  • and more...

overview of talk

unmet need

  • why aren't research informatics tools in more widespread clinical use?
  • why is real time collaboration/sharing on medical data so 1990s?

value proposition

  • bridge research/clinical gap using web 2.0 metaphors
  • track, share, process, collaborate

ChRIS overview

live demo

the traditional approach to research pipelines...

what is typical domain knowledge for conducting numerical research?

  • specialized tools with high degree of domain knowledge
  • UNIX (Linux or Mac) command line
  • intimate knowledge of clusters and scheduling

what is ChRIS?

ChRIS is a bio-medical data workflow manage that allows easy and intuitive collection, analysis, and sharing of data between parties.

what is ChRIS?

ChRIS also...

  • allows for advanced view rendering
  • allows for sharing of images
  • allows for immersive real time collaboration
  • allows for post-processing of images


  • collect
  • manage
  • analyze
  • view
  • collaborate

collect image data

  • seamlessly connect to standard PACS with Query/Retrieve
  • direct access to server filesystem
  • drag-n-drop from local client into server
  • ssh/scp underpinning for secure network transfers

collect image data

manage image data

  • all "data" is stored in a time-based feed
  • feeds are basically file-browsers
  • feeds can be annotated with free form notes
  • shared feeds can support comments between parties

analyze image data

  • a "plugin" mechanism offers the ability to accept feed data and process data
  • ChRIS is usually configured to communicate transparently with an HPC
  • plugins are mostly non-interactive analysis pipelines
  • interactivity is available as a pre-processing step

analyze image data

view image data

  • image data in feed can be viewed directly in simple drop down window
  • image data can be viewed in more sophisticated fashion with specialized viewing modes
  • advanced sharing using 3rd party backends (Google Real Time API / Dropbox API)

real time collaboration

  • image data can be shared between collaborators
  • Google RealTime API
  • a realtime JSON object is shared and updates each viewer independently
  • (akin to multi-player games)
  • shared screen components (like cursor)

real time collaboration

real time demo...

  • ChRIS instance

real time demo...

  • ChRIS instance

Ancilliary projects


further references...


Development team

  • Jorge "To Be" Bernal, PhD
  • Nicolas "VJ" Rannou, MSc
  • Rudolph "Cat Herder" Pienaar, PhD
  • Daniel "X Slicer" Haehn, PhD
  • Daniel "Game On" Ginsburg, MSc
  • Ellen "Doc" Grant, MD

thank you...

ChRIS-12MinuteTalk -- IEEE EMBS 2015

By Rudolph Pienaar

ChRIS-12MinuteTalk -- IEEE EMBS 2015

A general overview of ChRIS... shortcomings in conventional approaches, live demo, video, mi2b2.

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