Nearly $50 Million NIH grant for UAB Translational Science


 
Robert Kimberly, MD

The UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) has been renewed for another five years with grants from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, part of the National Institutes of Health. The three linked grants, totaling nearly $50 million over five years, will support clinical and translational research, mentored career development, and pre-doctoral training.

UAB's CCTS, established in 2008, nurtures research through partnerships with academic health centers, research institutes and universities. It also accelerates the process of translating laboratory discoveries into treatments, facilitates training of researchers, and engages communities in research efforts.

"As the sole Alabama-based hub in the NCATS-funded CTSA program, the CCTS has been a driving force for scientific innovation for the past decade," said Robert Kimberly, MD, senior associate dean for Clinical and Translational Research in the School of Medicine. "The CCTS is transforming the biomedical research environment at UAB."

The CCTS has secured more than $123 million in competitive federal funding, including 14 supplemental awards, and has leveraged multiple multi-institutional grants across the network. It has granted 62 pilot awards, producing nearly 1,500 publications and an overall return on investment of 49:1 since 2008.

Kimberly is the principal investigator on the core CCTS grant, totaling more than $38 million. The additional two linked grants -- $5.2 million for the Deep South Translational Research Mentored Career Development Program and $3.7 million for a National Research Service Award training core -- are led by Kenneth Saag, MD, the vice chair for Outcomes Research of the Department of Medicine.

The CCTS partner network -- which comprises 11 academic and scientific research institutions in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi -- is the foundation of the center's regional collaborative efforts. Launched in 2015, the network's purpose is to reduce the burden of cardiometabolic, vascular and cancer-related diseases and health disparities that disproportionately affect the minority populations in the south.

To prepare researchers for the collaborative projects, the CCTS Training Academy, under the leadership of Michael Mugavero, MD and David D. Chaplin, MD, PhD, offers learning opportunities that create "translational thinkers" who are multilingual -- that is, they are familiar with the basic principles and terminologies of key fields in translation, from informatics, biostatistics and study design to team science, ethics and community engagement. The CCTS Clinical and Translational Science Training Program, a six-month experience that has introduced hundreds of investigators to the language of translation, graduated nearly 50 trainees in 2018.

 
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