Focusing on team science to improve health and health-care delivery

Interdisciplinary curriculum
The CTSC focuses on team science, interdisciplinary curriculum and best practices across multiple training grants.

An award of $20 million in renewed grant funding marks the fifth anniversary of the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC). The funding allocation by the National Center for Research Resources recognizes the center as an important contributor to medical research.

“UC Davis received funding at the requested grant level and scored among the top three centers applying for renewal,” said Lars Berglund, CTSC director and associate dean for research in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

During the past five years the CTSC has fostered numerous advances in scientific understanding and essential training for scholars and students. Researchers working under the CTSC umbrella conduct on average more than 1,000 research studies annually. Some of the center’s innovative collaborations include:

“By marshaling our collective brainpower toward a common goal, together we can ensure that the public more quickly benefits from discoveries in the laboratory." 
—Lars Berglund, CTSC director and associate dean for research in the UC Davis School of Medicine

  • Partnerships with the College of Engineering to develop biological sensors that measure components in human breath to more accurately diagnose asthma and other diseases.
  • 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 Hospitals for Children–Northern California.
  • A robust Clinical Research Center that includes a mobile research unit with highly trained staff who conduct evaluations, offer laboratory support services and accommodate research study participants in their own environment.

CTSC graduate students
CTSC graduate students shadow Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Jeffery Southard in the cardiac catherization labs.

“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.”

During the next five years, the CTSC expects to complete its comprehensive array of services, resources and tools to foster collaboration and advance research, training and health across the lifespan.

“By marshaling our collective brainpower toward a common goal, together we can ensure that the public more quickly benefits from discoveries in the laboratory,” Berglund said. “To get there, we must anchor our effort in teamwork.”

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 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.
  • Promoting translational research and facilitating collaborations among basic and clinical scientists.