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Director's Message Summer 2020

Dr. Firestein

I am delighted to announce that the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) has received a renewal of our five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) totaling approximately $55 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), and brings our total support since the inception of the ACTRI to approximately $144 million. This prestigious award, now received for the third time, recognizes ACTRI's vision and promise during its initial funding under the CTSA program from 2010 – 2015, our successful endeavors in the most recent funding phase of 2015 – 2020, and the continued high quality of our plans going forward.

The ACTRI, established in 2010, was charged with transforming the UC San Diego research environment and developing infrastructure to support innovative research. Our CTSA hub now supports nearly every clinical trial at our institution. It also provides informatics tools, research infrastructure and new education and training programs. Over the past five years, collaborations with our ACTRI affiliates expanded our reach and provided resources to investigators across the county. Housed in our new Altman CTRI building, research space is now occupied by nearly 1,000 clinical and translational research faculty and staff. We currently provide clinical research infrastructure to nearly 300 protocols each year, and our clinical research visits have increased by nearly 3-fold since we moved into the building.

The new award continues our KL2 program to support young faculty members, expands our "Game Center," which develops virtual reality educational training games and adds new mentoring programs in grant writing. A collaboration with new key faculty has created the new Dissemination & Implementation Science Center (DISC) to improve the impact of our research at UC San Diego along with a new Team Science Core. Novel informatics solutions such as mobile apps will help integrate clinical trials and the electronic health record and improve safety for research participants.

I am particularly excited about expansion of the Center for Life Course and Vulnerable Population Research (CLEVR), which has grown from our Center for Life Course Research. Led by Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, this unit will develop infrastructure to support Rady Children's Hospital, the UC San Diego Women's Center of Excellence, and the Stein Institute of Research on Aging. CLEVR will help assure that vulnerable and underserved populations are engaged and that their involvement in clinical research will be culturally sensitive. Dedicated project managers, ethics support and clinical research infrastructure is provided by our Center for Clinical Research. We will launch two new centers: the Device Acceleration Center (DAC) and Center for Excellence in Immunogenomics (CETI) units to bring scientists and clinicians together.

The renewal of our CTSA is a landmark for our institution, and will allow us to continue our trajectory. I would like to extend a special thanks to our administrative staff and leaders who were tireless in their contributions to our successful proposal. We are grateful for your support and look forward to working with our collaborators and the community.

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of ACTRI
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Clinical and Translational Research 
Phone: (858) 822-0591