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Director’s Message, Fall 2015

Dr. Firestein

I am delighted to announce that the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) has received a five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) for about $52 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, part of the National Institutes of Health. The new award recognizes CTRI's success during its initial funding under the CTSA program and the high quality of proposed programs going forward.

The CTRI, established in 2010 through our first five-year CTSA grant, was charged with transforming the UC San Diego research environment and developing infrastructure to support innovative research. Our CTSA hub now serves as the epicenter for health research at UC San Diego and supports nearly every clinical trial at our institution. It also provides informatics tools, research infrastructure and new education and training programs. Local collaborations with research and clinical CTRI affiliates bring clinical relevance to basic researchers at research institutes and research expertise to our community partners.

We are now positioned to develop into an institute that enhances team building and informatics capabilities, improves efficiency and leads network collaboration, and bolsters training programs for the next generation of translational scientists.

The new award supports the expansion of the CTRI mentored career development program to support young faculty members and funded research experiences for medical and pharmacy students; the development of a phase I unit at the Center for Clinical Research; the expansion of biomarker and biocomputational capacity; new infrastructure to speed the regulatory processes for reviewing research involving human subjects; and new informatics solutions to help researchers recruit for clinical trials. The CTRI, which had previously supported three junior faculty through the CTSA grant program, will now be able to support up to eight and create a new post-doctoral fellowship focused on team science and managing complex projects.

I'm particularly excited about building research that encompasses the human lifespan, from infants to seniors and all of the transitional points in between. The NIH grant enables the creation of the Center for Lifespan Research, which will bring together investigators of childhood health, aging, and lifespan transitions. Led by Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, the unit will develop infrastructure to support Rady Children's Hospital, the UC San Diego Women's Center of Excellence, the Stein Institute of Research on Aging, and numerous other centers such as those focused on autism and cystic fibrosis. Dedicated project managers, ethics support and clinical research infrastructure will be provided to assure integration of research efforts on vulnerable populations, special populations and diverse populations and across the age spectrum.

I am extremely pleased to share our exciting grant news with you and am grateful for your support during our first five years. 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 look forward to our continued collaboration with you as the CTRI enters the next phase of translational research.

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI
Professor of Medicine
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine
Phone: (858) 822-3824