Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Lawrence I. Sinoway, M.D., Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
The overarching goal of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is to revitalize the health science research and education enterprise at Penn State to better enable it to deliver on the promise of improved health. Throughout the university, CTSI has broad support across colleges, campuses and partner organizations.
With strengths in relevant biological, social and physical sciences and an organizational structure that encourages collaboration across units, CTSI plans to: 1) bolster community alliances to strengthen trust, enhance awareness of disparities and ascertain needs; 2) cultivate new problem-driven interdisciplinary collaborations that go well beyond the traditional boundaries of biomedicine to address these needs, including partnering with industry; 3) share resources and promote their most proficient use; 4) capitalize on novel tools in information technology to collect, share and mine data, and disseminate new knowledge; and 5) educate a new generation of investigators, health professionals and community leaders who are fluent across disciplines, aware of ethical principles, sensitive to the community's needs, and able to apply their skills in partnership with others.
Some of the key features of the Penn State CTSI are to expand biomedical informatics and develop new software solutions to study genetics, epigenetics and systems biology.
Jointly with its community partners, and through the CTSA consortium, the Penn State CTSI will serve as a collaborative engine that will drive research initiatives geared to enhance wellness and better predict, prevent and treat disease in the people it serves.
University of Pennsylvania Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
Garret FitzGerald, M.D., University of Pennsylvania
The Clinical and Translational Research Award (CTSA) has been greeted enthusiastically by the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and its partner institutions. The Penn-led proposal was funded in the first round of CTSAs, and Penn has just completed its renewal. The overarching themes of the Penn proposal are: 1) fostering the development of translational therapeutics and 2) bridging the artificial divide between pediatric and adult physiology and disease. A strategic plan had identified clinical and translational research as a priority, leading to the formation of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) in January 2005. ITMAT anticipated many aspects of the CTSA — amongst them, inclusion of dedicated “dry” and “wet” bench space for translational research and a robust educational program, configured on a Master in Translational Research (MTR). This CTSA application prompted intra- and interinstitutional consideration of how to build on this achievement. This has forged a transformational alliance between Penn, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Wistar Institute (WI) and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). Faculty from 9 of the 12 schools at Penn and from the partner institutions are represented in leadership roles in the response to this CTSA. ITMAT, designated as the academic home for clinical and translational research, has been broadened to serve a transinstitutional role. Its structure has been transformed to foster interdisciplinary science from discovery of new molecules through to the study of drug action in large populations. This has been accomplished by developing interdisciplinary centers, related cores, innovative interdisciplinary programs of research and strategies to engage and inform communities and their physicians. A particular emphasis has been placed on training and innovative programs, which cover the entire career span, engaging undergraduate students through to mature clinicians. The proposal includes the flexible use of the MTR and new tracks in the Master in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) with the M.D., Ph.D., V.M.D., M.S.N., D.M.D., and M.B.A. degrees; dedicated slots for medical school entrants pursuing M.D.-MTR/MSCE degrees; and the flexible use of diverse faculty tracks at Penn and CHOP to broaden physician engagement in research. These initiatives will be pursued in partnership with industry, the State of Pennsylvania, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and a national network of institutions holding CTSAs. Specifically, Penn and the FDA signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue jointly educational and programmatic initiatives in the area of translational therapeutics under the guidance of ITMAT. In summary, this initiative has fostered: 1) an integrated strategy to develop clinical and translational research by Penn, CHOP, the WI and USP — more than 900 investigators from these institutions are now members of ITMAT; and 2) the transformation and expansion of ITMAT. This has permitted the development of interdisciplinary structures designed to foster and facilitate research and education in this emerging discipline.
University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Steven Reis, M.D., University of Pittsburgh
As one of the nation's leading academic research centers, the University of Pittsburgh has embraced the opportunity and obligation to take the inherent risks associated with reengineering a successful research enterprise and to undertake a transformative initiative, resulting in the development and advancement of clinical and translational science as a distinct discipline in western Pennsylvania. The university demonstrated its commitment to transforming its culture, environment and structure to achieve this goal by forming the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The CTSI serves as the integrative academic home for clinical and translational scientists across the university's six health sciences schools, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the region.
CTSI focuses primarily on developing, nurturing and supporting a cadre of clinical and translational scientists by building on the university's existing clinical research training programs to establish a comprehensive program with activities ranging from early research exposure for high school students to advanced doctoral programs. Through integration and innovation, CTSI excels in the development of new biomedical knowledge and the translation of that knowledge from the basic and preclinical research settings to individuals, communities and health practice. The CTSI Center for Clinical and Translational Informatics, which is developing translational research informatics tools for the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid initiative, infuses informatics tools into the entire lifecycle of clinical research studies and has developed an online collaborative research community. Innovative, interdisciplinary research initiatives have been developed through the 10 CTSI resource cores, and translated to health practice via a novel CTSI community partnership program and through centralization of UPMC's extensive clinical networks. The resulting transformations in the institution, scientists, research and health practice has improved health locally, regionally and nationally.