Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD

Sally S. Morley Designated Professor in Brain Tumor Research
School of Medicine
Professor
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Associate Director for Data Sciences
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Director for Translational Informatics
Cleveland Institute for Computational Biology
Director
Cleveland Center for Health Outcomes Research
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine

Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan is multi-disciplinary researcher trained in biostatistics, population genetics and human genetics. Her role in team science has been essential for multiple, successful multi-disciplinary research projects. She is the PI of the Ohio Brain Tumor Study (OBTS), which has served as a multi-site tissue source site for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and she is the scientific PI of the Central Brain Tumor Registry for the United States (CBTRUS). She is the Associate Director for Bioinformatics at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Associate Director for Translational Informatics for the Cleveland Institute of Computational Biology, both at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine, where she is responsible for managing bioinformatics analysis of high throughput "omics" data and implementing and maintaining a translational informatics solution for research. 

In addition, she is the Director for Research Health Analytics and Informatics at University Hospitals Health System (UHHS). She also serves as Director of the Cleveland Center for Health Outcomes Research (CCHOR) with a primary objective of optimizing "big data" for clinical outcomes modeling, including individualized patient predictions that would drive operational and clinical decision making.

Research Information

Research Interests

Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan is multi-disciplinary researcher trained in biostatistics, population genetics, and human genetics. Her role in team science has been essential for multiple, successful multi-disciplinary research projects. She is the PI of the Ohio Brain Tumor Study (OBTS), which has served as a multi-site tissue source site for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). She is also the scientific PI of the Central Brain Tumor Registry for the United States (CBTRUS). She has extensive experience with multi-site, brain tumor, patient recruitment and bio specimen collection, storage, and clinical annotation. She has multiple roles in the Case Western (CWRU) School of Medicine and the University Hospitals Health System (UHHS), which all focus on optimizing the use of data and analytics to advance health care.

At CWRU she is the Associate Director for Data Sciences at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Associate Director for Translational Informatics for the Cleveland Institute of Computational Biology. In these roles, she advances research endeavors by advocating for and assisting researchers in obtaining access to and using large health datasets (publicly available or controlled access) to answer research questions. Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan also aids investigators in the use of secure database infrastructure needed for human subjects’ research, the implementation of robust study designs, as well as the interpretation of results. These efforts aim to reduce the burden and barriers researchers may encounter in gaining access to and analyzing “big data”, enabling them to think about and perform research that has previously not been pursued.

As the Director for Research Health Analytics and Informatics at UHHS, she facilitates access to and analysis of UHHS data. Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan’s efforts focus on aiding clinicians in utilizing “big data” to impact clinical outcomes modeling that can drive both health operations and clinical decision making.

Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan is also Director of the Cleveland Center for Health Outcomes Research (CCHOR), which was established in the summer of 2018. The goal of the CCHOR is to integrate, innovate, and optimize the use of “big data”. CCHOR facilitates access to datasets and helps support analysis to test hypotheses and drive discoveries, facilitating understanding and impact on health.

Together, all of these roles draw upon her extensive experience in hypothesis development, study design and statistical analysis for studies of various phenotypes in humans and animals, and analysis of all types of high throughput “omics” and clinical outcomes data.

Research Projects

The Ohio Brain Tumor Study (OBTS)

The Ohio Brain Tumor Study Logo

The Ohio Brain Tumor Study (OBTS) is a prospective study of primary benign and malignant brain tumor patients from the four major academic centers in the state of Ohio: The Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) and University Hospitals Case Medical Center (UHCMC), Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at the Cleveland Clinic, the Dardinger Neuro-oncology Center and the Department of Neurosurgery at the James Cancer Hospital and Ohio State University Medical Center, and the Brain Tumor Center at the University of Cincinnati. Our primary aim is to objectively characterize subtypes of primary benign and malignant brain tumors using genetic and environmental exposure information and associate these with clinical outcomes. All newly diagnosed primary malignant and benign patients are identified at each center and consented for study. From each patient we obtain the following: blood sample (for DNA, RNA, plasma and mononuclear cells), snap-frozen tumor tissue within 15-30 minutes of resection (for DNA and RNA) or re-cuts of formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue (for DNA), interview/questionnaire data, medical chart review and active yearly follow-up for clinical outcomes. This protocol forms a new brain tumor genetic epidemiology research consortia between the four major academic centers in the State of Ohio accruing eligible subjects to the first prospective accrual study of genetics of brain tumors and outcome in Ohio.

Since the inception of OBTS, several pilot grants have been awarded to Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan from Case CCC and Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC).  The statewide OBTS network has been utilized as tissue source network for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) http://cancergenome.nih.gov/ and as the basis for a population science project for the Ohio Brain Tumor SPORE application.

Case GI SPORE
Director, Biostatistics Core
cancer.case.edu/research/gispore/
In September 2011, the Case CCC was awarded a research grant to establish a GI SPORE- GI Cancers Research Center at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). With this designation, CWRU joins only six other nationally recognized GI SPORE Centers of Excellence in the country. Researchers from CWRU, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic, all members of the Cancer Center, collaborate in the research effort. The GI SPORE team intends to battle these diseases by developing new tests to identify individuals who are susceptible to these cancers; new molecular tests to pick up cancers and pre-cancers in the early curable stages; new drugs for prevention of these cancers; and new treatment approaches, with particular emphasis on discovery of new targets for blocking the metastatic spread of these cancers.

Barrett's Esophagus Translational Research Network (BETRNet)
Director, Bioinformatics Core
case.edu/medicine/dhri/betrnet
This five-year award from the National Cancer Institute will support the BETRNet, which consists of multiple centers collaborating to develop an understanding of the basis of Barrett's esophagus and its conversion to esophageal carcinoma. Researchers will also work to determine the role genetics and environmental factors play in the development and progression of these diseases, with the ultimate goal of reducing the mortality associated with this deadly cancer.

Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS)
Scientific Principal Investigator https://academic.oup.com/neuro-oncology/issue/15/suppl_2
The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) is a not-for-profit corporation established to provide a resource for descriptive statistical data on all primary brain tumors irrespective of behavior. The CBTRUS database contains the largest aggregation of population–based data on the incidence of all primary brain and central nervous system tumors in the United States. This database has been developed by compiling data from state cancer registries that include information on both malignant and non–malignant primary brain tumors.

Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan with her team works with CBTRUS staff to coordinate data acquisition, develop and manage data sets, and conduct data analyses. She also collaborates on interpreting and disseminating brain and central nervous system tumor data by producing statistical reports and scholarly publications, presentations, responding to data request, and developing grant applications for scientific utilization of the data sets.

Institute for Computational Biology (ICB)
Associate Director for Translational Informatics
http://www.icompbio.net/
The ICB will advance our fundamental knowledge of human biology through the application of computational methods to large and diverse datasets.  Further, the ICB will promote the translation of this knowledge into better diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prevention and delivery of healthcare. Key elements of our mission include:

  1. Promoting collaboration through shared resources
  2. Improving healthcare using electronic health records (EHR)
  3. Developing new methods to integrate and analyze Big Data
  4. Supporting educational opportunities in big data and the data sciences.

Professional Memberships

American Association of Cancer Research
North American Association for Cancer Registries
Society for Neuro Oncology

External Appointments

Director of Research Health Analytics and Informatics
University Hospitals Health Systems

Publications

  1. Fathi Kazerooni, A, Akbari, H, Shukla, G, Badve, C, Rudie, JD, Sako, C, Rathore, S, Bakas, S, Pati, S, Singh, A, Bergman, M, Ha, SM, Kontos, D, Nasrallah, M, Bagley, SJ, Lustig, RA, O'Rourke, DM, Sloan, AE, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Mohan, S, Bilello, M, Davatzikos, C. Cancer Imaging Phenomics via CaPTk: Multi-Institutional Prediction of Progression-Free Survival and Pattern of Recurrence in Glioblastoma. JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2020; 4 : 234-244. PubMed PMID:32191542 PubMed Central PMC7113126.
  2. Davatzikos, C, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Bakas, S, Colen, R, Mahajan, A, Quintero, CB, Font, JC, Puig, J, Jain, R, Sloan, AE, Badve, C, Marcus, DS, Choi, YS, Lee, SK, Chang, JH, Poisson, LM, Griffith, B, Dicker, AP, Flanders, AE, Booth, TC, Rathore, S, Akbari, H, Sako, C, Bilello, M, Shukla, G, Kazerooni, AF, Brem, S, Lustig, R, Mohan, S, Bagley, S, Nasrallah, M, O'Rourke, DM. AI-based Prognostic Imaging Biomarkers for Precision Neurooncology: the ReSPOND Consortium. Neuro-oncology 2020; : . PubMed PMID:32152622 .
  3. Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Rollison, DE, Basu, A, Borowsky, AD, Bui, A, DiGiovanna, J, Garcia-Closas, M, Genkinger, JM, Gerke, T, Induni, M, Lacey, JV Jr, Mirel, L, Permuth, JB, Saltz, J, Shenkman, EA, Ulrich, CM, Zheng, WJ, Nadaf, S, Kibbe, WA. Cancer Informatics for Cancer Centers (CI4CC): Building a Community Focused on Sharing Ideas and Best Practices to Improve Cancer Care and Patient Outcomes. JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2020; 4 : 108-116. PubMed PMID:32078367 .
  4. Molinaro, AM, Hervey-Jumper, S, Morshed, RA, Young, J, Han, SJ, Chunduru, P, Zhang, Y, Phillips, JJ, Shai, A, Lafontaine, M, Crane, J, Chandra, A, Flanigan, P, Jahangiri, A, Cioffi, G, Ostrom, Q, Anderson, JE, Badve, C, Barnholtz-Sloan, J, Sloan, AE, Erickson, BJ, Decker, PA, Kosel, ML, LaChance, D, Eckel-Passow, J, Jenkins, R, Villanueva-Meyer, J, Rice, T, Wrensch, M, Wiencke, JK, Oberheim Bush, NA, Taylor, J, Butowski, N, Prados, M, Clarke, J, Chang, S, Chang, E, Aghi, M, Theodosopoulos, P, McDermott, M, Berger, MS. Association of Maximal Extent of Resection of Contrast-Enhanced and Non-Contrast-Enhanced Tumor With Survival Within Molecular Subgroups of Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma. JAMA Oncol 2020; : . PubMed PMID:32027343 PubMed Central PMC7042822.
  5. ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium. Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes. Nature 2020; 578 (7793): 82-93. PubMed PMID:32025007 PubMed Central PMC7025898.
  6. Tian, YD, Menegay, H, Waite, KA, Saroufim, PG, Beno, MF, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS. Facilitating Cancer Epidemiologic Efforts in Cleveland via Creation of Longitudinal De-Duplicated Patient Data Sets. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2020; 29 (4): 787-795. PubMed PMID:31988074 .
  7. Tish, S, Habboub, G, Lang, M, Ostrom, QT, Kruchko, C, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Recinos, PF, Kshettry, VR. The epidemiology of spinal schwannoma in the United States between 2006 and 2014. J Neurosurg Spine 2019; : 1-6. PubMed PMID:31881538 .
  8. Berens, ME, Sood, A, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Graf, JF, Cho, S, Kim, S, Kiefer, J, Byron, SA, Halperin, RF, Nasser, S, Adkins, J, Cuyugan, L, Devine, K, Ostrom, Q, Couce, M, Wolansky, L, McDonough, E, Schyberg, S, Dinn, S, Sloan, AE, Prados, M, Phillips, JJ, Nelson, SJ, Liang, WS, Al-Kofahi, Y, Rusu, M, Zavodszky, MI, Ginty, F. Multiscale, multimodal analysis of tumor heterogeneity in IDH1 mutant vs wild-type diffuse gliomas. PLoS ONE 2019; 14 (12): e0219724. PubMed PMID:31881020 PubMed Central PMC6934292.
  9. Gittleman, H, Ostrom, QT, Stetson, LC, Waite, K, Hodges, TR, Wright, CH, Wright, J, Rubin, JB, Berens, ME, Lathia, J, Connor, JR, Kruchko, C, Sloan, AE, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS. Sex is an important prognostic factor for glioblastoma but not for nonglioblastoma. Neurooncol Pract 2019; 6 (6): 451-462. PubMed PMID:31832215 PubMed Central PMC6899055.
  10. Davis, FG, Smith, TR, Gittleman, HR, Ostrom, QT, Kruchko, C, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS. Glioblastoma incidence rate trends in Canada and the United States compared with England, 1995-2015. Neuro-oncology 2020; 22 (2): 301-302. PubMed PMID:31786602 PubMed Central PMC7032629.

Publishing Impact 

Metrics from Web of Science/publons and Scopus/SciVal:

  • H-index: 49
  • Total publications: 321
  • Total citations:  12,833
  • Publications in top-tier journals: 59%
  • Collaborative publishing national/international: 72%/28%  

 Editorial roles:

  • Neuro-Oncology, Associate Editor
  • Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Associate Editor
  • Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Associate Editor for Statistics
  • Journal of Clinical Oncology Cancer Clinical Informatics, Associate Editor

Education

PhD
Biostatistics
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health
2000
MS
Statistics
University of Texas at Austin
1995
BS
Mathematics
University of Florida
1994

Residencies, Internships and Fellowships

Elected President and Vice President
Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium
Co-chair glioblastoma disease working group
NCI Clinical Proteomics Tumor Analysis Consortium
Meeting Chair
Cancer Informatics for Cancer Centers
Society for Neuro Oncology
American Association of Cancer Research
North American Association for Cancer Registries

Additional Information

Contributions to science:

  • Advancing knowledge in brain tumor genetic/molecular epidemiology; established the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium 
  • Leads the multi-site Ohio Brain Tumor Study of “omics” and clinical outcomes for brain tumors in Ohio, which serves as a tissue source for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
  • Directs the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS)
  • Collaborates as a biostatistician and bioinformatician on ovarian cancer genetic epidemiology and GI Cancers
  • Supervises and collaborates in research across multiple clinical disciplines integrating electronic health records and other data sets to develop evidence-based best practices in quality and care

Student and mentee totals, over Case Western Reserve University career:

  • PhD: 5
  • Post-doc: 3

A sampling of CWRU PhD graduates’ and postdoctoral fellows’ current careers:

  • Baylor College of Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • CWRU School of Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Pfizer, Biostatistician