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CTSI Transforms Research at UCSF

By Jennifer Charney, UCSF Today | October 25, 2007

Established one year ago through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) to accelerate the pace at which scientific discovery is translated into patient care, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is already transforming the research community at UCSF.

"The message of CTSI is that we need to work in new ways if our patients are to benefit from our science," says Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "As much as CTSI is about translational science, it is also about transforming the underlying systems that determine how we work. It is about changing perceptions, attitudes, administrative processes and resource allocations to enable translational science to flourish."

Koda-Kimble credits the CTSI directors and basic and clinical research faculty for meeting the need for systems change head-on and for their tremendous success so far.

UCSF School of Medicine Dean David Kessler says the CTSI has been a catalyst for change and an important resource for the research community.

"The CTSI has worked across the campus to provide more comprehensive and accessible services for UCSF researchers," Kessler says. "It is developing structures and resources that will make it easier for our faculty to pursue translational research and will create pipelines for junior scientists. CTSI has also worked with academic leadership at all the four schools to improve recognition of multidisciplinary, team-based clinical and translational research."

UCSF School of Nursing Dean Kathy Dracup has long called for taking an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching. "The CTSI's emphasis on translational research is very important for the faculty and students in the School of Nursing," she says. "Research programs of the majority of our faculty involve the translation of basic science to clinical care and prevention of illness. We are not only involved in the transfer of research from 'bench to bedside,' but also the transfer from 'neuron to neighborhood.' All of the efforts of the CTSI team have increased our abilities to collaborate across structural units and to gain in the synergy of talents brought to the CTSI."

Strengthening Collaboration
Indeed, the CTSI exemplifies the UCSF Strategic Plan's call to transform basic and clinical research efforts to prevent, treat and cure many disabling diseases, as well as to foster interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration, in part by strengthening collaborative research interactions across UCSF sites and schools.

In addition, the CTSI will strengthen collaborations with partner research institutions around the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally through a consortium of CTSA awardees, says Joseph (Mike) McCune, CTSI program director, professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Experimental Medicine, and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research.

Sarah Nelson, UCSF professor of radiology and director of the Surbeck Laboratory of Advanced Imaging at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3, is collaborating with GE Healthcare to develop new magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy techniques that are expected to enable earlier diagnosis of cancer and other diseases and treatment tailored to individual patients. Nelson is a member of the CTSI.

Read more at Jennifer Charney, UCSF Today