CTRI Hosts Day of Translational Science

CTRI-Day

From left, Christine Smith, PhD, of UC San Diego's Department of Psychiatry, explores CTRI resources at CTRI's Day of Translational Science on Feb. 25, while CTRI Division Directors Paul Mills, PhD, and Howard Taras, MD, field questions about CTRI's resources and services.

CTRI's Education, Training and Career Development Division Organizes Event

February 28, 2014 - They talked about genetics, and its role in alcoholism, cold-induced urticarial (skin rash) disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, and in evaluating disease risk. They presented findings from studies that looked at the impact of provider experience with radiation in head-and-neck cancer and discussed topics that included developing computational models for validating Alzheimer's disease and an innovative wireless blood pressure monitoring system for kidney disease. And they lauded UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) for supporting their work.

"CTRI has been instrumental in my research," said James Murphy, MD, MS, Chief of Gastrointestinal Tumor Service for Radiation Oncology at UC San Diego and a KL2 awardee, as he concluded his talk, "Impact of Provider and Hospital Experience in Head-and-Neck Cancer."

Murphy was one of nine featured speakers who came to inspire new generations of translational scientists during CTRI's Day of Translational Science on Feb. 25 at the Medical Education and Telemedicine Building at UC San Diego. About 70 attended the event, which included an introduction to CTRI; informational tables staffed by CTRI representatives; and talks by young investigators who received pilot project awards from CTRI, distinguished CTRI members, and junior faculty and trainees who were supported by the CTRI TL1 and KL2 programs. TL1 is a short-term grant for research training and KL2 is an award for junior faculty for up to three years. George F. Koob, PhD, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, delivered the keynote address, "Medications Development for Alcoholism: A Framework for Translational Studies."

"We are pleased to launch this symposium series to highlight the research of CTRI-supported investigators," said Gary S. Firestein, MD, CTRI director, during his opening remarks. He discussed overcoming the "tribalism of academia" and eliminating "silos" to create a collaborative environment that better supports junior investigators.

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at UC San Diego, who discussed innovative study design and phenotyping in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, said, "In 2013, with the help of CTRI, we had 15 original peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals and expect more in 2014."

Michael Donohue, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego, said the award he received from CTRI allowed him the time to conduct research focused on developing novel computational models for validating Alzheimer's disease. Donohue received a KL2 Post-Doctoral Scholar Award to investigate efficient analysis methods for longitudinal clinical trials, particularly in the face of missing data typical in Alzheimer's disease trials. "CTRI has been a key support of all this research," he said.