Tulane University’s Translational Science Institute is set to expand significantly thanks to a major investment from the school, according to a recent press release.
The University’s Translational Science Institute (TUTSI) was initially established in 2016 as a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) that was focused on the training and development of scientists devoted to clinical research that was specifically aimed at helping patients who suffer from high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other related conditions. When created, the COBRE was funded by the National Institutes of Health, but thanks to the latest efforts by Tulane University, TUTSI will expand its impact tenfold.
Tulane University is committed to investing $5.7 million to expand its Translational Science Institute into a “university-wide center” that will be focused on finding more effective ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing a multitude of diseases. In addition to this central aim, they also plan to focus on translating any scientific discoveries made into actual medical practices that will improve both public health and the overall care of patients.
Tulane University President Michael Fitts said of the initiative, “the goal is to expand research across the university and increase the impact of scientific discoveries on the well-being of individual patients and society as a whole. This investment will help Tulane grow in its role as a national powerhouse of clinical and translational research. Better equipping and serving the needs of the university’s research community will translate into better medicines, diagnosis, treatment, and care for patients. This past year has underscored the need for such investment like never before.”
The funding will allow the institute to offer new training programs for clinical research coordinators, new graduate degree programs aimed to develop the next generation of clinical investigators, and a shared research “biobank” freezer farm so that various researchers from across multiple studies and institutions can use various samples stored and preserved by TUTSI. In addition to the new offerings, the investment will also improve infrastructure to support large-scale patient recruitment for clinical trials, data analysis, and the design of research studies.
Speaking on the need for infrastructure improvements, Tulane senior vice president for academic affairs Robin Forman stated, “We have to grow our research infrastructure to keep up with the extraordinary growth in the research activity and ambition of our faculty. This added support for translational and clinical research will help energize all of our health-related research by making more seamless the transition from basic research to translational research to clinical research to improved clinical care.”
Dr. Jiang He, Joseph S. Copes MD Chair and Professor of Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will lead the Translational Science Institute as its director, and Dr. Lee Hamm, Senior Vice President and Dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine will be serving as Dr. He’s co-director.
After the investment goes into effect, TUTSI will include researchers from multiple schools at Tulane, including the School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, School of Science and Engineering, and School of Social Work.
These researchers from the school will primarily focus on three areas of research: clinical research, translational research, and implementation research. Clinical research can include the administration and analysis of clinical trials for new drugs, surgical advances, or medical devices. Translational research is often referred to as the rewriting or translating of basic scientific findings “from bench to bedside” or into layman’s terms, so that patient health can be improved and understood by those outside the field. Implementation research focuses on integrating evidence-based practices, interventions, and other policies into existing, routine health care and disease-prevention measures.
TUTSI director Dr. Jiang He shared his vision of the initiative’s impact by saying, “the new and enhanced TUTSI core services that we will offer should go a long way in fostering this spirit of collaboration here at Tulane.”
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