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UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center receives renewed grant funding

Researchers © UC Regents
The UC Davis CTSC provides the essential foundation for building, sustaining and evolving research teams that advance health

Posted June 29, 2011

The UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), which has advanced research and provided critical training to UC Davis scholars and students during the past five years, received renewed grant funding of $20 million from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Turning lab findings into treatments

The UC Davis CTSC is part of a national consortium of medical research institutions working to transform how American biomedical research is conducted. It focuses on speeding the translation of laboratory findings into treatments for patients, engaging communities in clinical research efforts and leveraging its network of scholars to educate the next generation of clinical and translational scientists. Established in 2006, the UC Davis CTSC is one of 12 inaugural members of the national consortium, which now includes 60 medical research institutions.

“UC Davis received funding at the maximum grant level and scored third highest among all centers applying for renewal,” said Lars Berglund, associate dean for research at UC Davis School of Medicine. “The funding ensures that UC Davis will continue its role as a national leader in transforming the nation’s research infrastructure into a comprehensive and powerful resource for investigators pursuing innovative health studies.”

A hub for UC Davis biomedical research

The UC Davis CTSC provides a foundation to build, sustain, and evolve the research teams of the future to advance health. It integrates the work of scientists from across UC Davis into a cohesive program that conducts more than 1,000 research studies annually. It also provides team-science training with a focus on sharing curriculum and best practices across multiple training grants to educate the next generation of investigators and staff. The center’s collective efforts have resulted in a wide range of innovative collaborations, including:

Lars Berglund © UC Regents“The funding ensures that UC Davis will continue its role as a national leader in transforming the nation’s research infrastructure into a comprehensive and powerful resource for investigators pursuing innovative health studies.”
— Lars Berglund

  • Partnerships with the College of Engineering to develop novel chemical and biological sensors to diagnose and treat disease, such as sensors that measure components in human breath to improve asthma control in children
  • Studies with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing to assess the effectiveness of using nurses as health coaches to improve diabetes self-management
  • A biomedical informatics program that consolidates multiple institutional and national resources into a multifaceted resource for UC Davis investigators, including tools that enable investigators to securely access de-identified clinical data to analyze health trends and reposition pharmaceutical drugs for potential new uses
  • A dynamic research training environment that funded 64 pilot projects, resulting in 66 publications and 106 abstracts, 94 junior scientists working as team members, and new research awards totaling $23 million
  • A multicenter burn study and extensive child health programs in partnership with Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California
  • A robust clinical research center that includes a mobile research unit staffed by highly trained nurses, a dietitian, exercise physiologist and research coordinator who conduct evaluations, provide laboratory support and reach participants throughout the community in their own environment

“Initially the UC Davis CTSC served as an incubator of ideas and a catalyst for partnerships at UC Davis and beyond,” said Berglund. “Today, we offer a full-fledged toolbox of resources that faculty and staff across the spectrum of scientific research can use to improve health and health-care delivery. Over the next five years, we plan to complete our comprehensive array of services, resources and tools to foster collaboration and advance research, training and health across the lifespan.”

Specific goals of the UC Davis CTSC include:

  • Expanding information-technology tools for genetic and genomics research and education for all CTSC training programs
  • Expanding mentoring programs, as well as training and resources for mentors and mentees at all career stages
  • Increasing academic-community health research partnerships and enhancing training curricula for programs on health services and health-policy research in the community
  • Promoting translational research and facilitating contacts between basic and clinical research investigators

About the UC Davis CTSC

CTSC building sign © UC RegentsThe UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center is part of a national consortium, led by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health, that is improving how biomedical research is conducted across the nation. Its goals are to reduce the time it takes for research discoveries to become treatments for patients, as well as to train the next generation of clinical researchers. For more information, visit
healthsystem.ucdavis.edu/ctsc.

Dissolving silos, marshalling brainpower

UC Davis CTSC leaders and faculty have contributed to the growth and success of the national CTSC consortium and continue to guide the implementation of the strategic plan and best practices within and beyond the health system. Berglund was elected by his peers as one of the two initial co-chairs for the CTSC Consortium Oversight Committee, which developed the roadmap to guide the integration of the national consortium. UC Davis faculty co-chaired key functional committees focused on education, community engagement and the translation of scientific findings. They also launched the West Coast Regional Consortium with Oregon Health and Science University in 2008, pioneering the regional consortium concept as a powerful approach to sharing best practices and achieving goals.

“As the consortium has grown to include 60 research institutions across 30 states nationwide, it is more important than ever that we create a solid framework for scientists and the communities they serve,” said Berglund. “By dissolving silos and marshalling our collective brainpower toward a common goal, together we can ensure that the public more quickly benefits from discoveries in the laboratory. To get there, we must anchor our effort in teamwork. Our center’s leaders have placed a strong emphasis on outreach, both across the UC Davis campus and to other institutional and community partners throughout the Central Valley.”