Latest News from Around the CTSA Program Consortium

Pittsburgh Works to Close Digital Divide with Health-Focused Apps

University of Pittsburgh CTSI

Technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, from the way we treat and dispense medicine to the greater control consumers can take over their health. The National Urban wants to make sure the Black community is an integral part of this new landscape.

August 13, 2018

Community Scientist Academy: Creating Community Advocates and Partners for Research

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Translational Research Institute (TRI)

The semi-annual Community Scientist Academy brings UAMS researchers and community members together for weekly sessions to increase the community participants’ knowledge of the research process, to build relationships between TRI and the community, and to create a cadre of stakeholders who can influence UAMS’ research.

“We want our fellow Arkansans to understand what we do because their input makes a big difference in our efforts to improve health,” said Kate Stewart, M.D., M.P.H., who leads the TRI’s Community Engagement program.

TRI established the academy on the recommendation of members of its Community Advisory Board. The academy, which is free to the public, addresses misconceptions about research while confronting past unethical behavior of researchers with vulnerable populations.

The next Community Scientist Academy will be Sept. 25 through Oct. 30, 2018, Tuesdays,  5:30 – 7:30 p.m. For more information about this program and/or the upcoming academy, please contact Rachel Hale, 501-526-6628 or

August 07, 2018

Dr. Thomas Pearson, director of the CTSI Translational Workforce Development Program, invited Dr. Ericka Boone, director of the NIH Division of Loan Repayment, to speak at the 2018 CTSI Research Day, to help identify opportunities for scholars, faculty and trainees to fund research careers. Pictured left to right with Omar McCrimmon, Communications Specialist for the NIH Loan Repayment Programs. University of Florida
UF CTSI Research Day Features Scholars and Trainees, NIH Loan Repayment Official

University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Trainees, scholars and pilot award recipients presented their work at the University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Research Day recently and heard from an NIH official about how to alleviate a major barrier to research that’s never far from their thoughts: Student loans.

NIH Division of Loan Repayment Director Ericka Boone, PhD, wants early-career researchers to know that the agency has $68 million to distribute every year, and that more people should apply for it.

“That’s $68 million up for grabs,” she told the crowd at the June 19 event. “You can get your loans repaid if you do research that is considered to be mission-critical for the NIH.”

Boone met with Loan Repayment Program Ambassadors from UF, and had lunch with TL1 Trainees, predoctoral students interested in translational research careers, and KL2 Scholars, junior faculty, who presented at Research Day. CTSI Translational Workforce Development Program trainees and scholars presented 18 posters: five TL1 trainees, five TL1 teams, five KL2 scholars, one non-TL1 CTS PhD student, and two faculty members in the Training and Research Academy for Clinical and Translational Science (TRACTS) program. Thirteen additional posters illustrated research supported by CTSI pilot project awards.

August 03, 2018

Mayo Clinic
CTSA mentorship program makes research aspirations a reality

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Mrinal Patnaik, M.B.B.S., is a physician in the Department of Hematology at Mayo Clinic with a keen interest in the clinical management of blood cancers. In recent years, however, Dr. Patnaik realized he wanted to develop a deeper understanding of the disease biology of these cancers and the ways that precision genomics could be used to improve therapy and quality of life for patients.  “I was looking for more training and mentorship, and to learn the skills to become an independent researcher,” says Dr. Patnaik. So he applied to Mayo's KL2 Mentored Career Development Program.

August 01, 2018

Stephen Ekker, Ph.D. Mayo Clinic
Following grant renewal, Mayo Clinic CTSA program abuzz with activity

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

In October 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) renewed Mayo Clinic’s Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences—an award totaling $48.8 million over five years. This renewal allows Mayo Clinic to continue pursuing its long-term goals in clinical and translational science, while also setting new short term objectives.

In the months since the grant renewal, the researchers and support staff at the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) have been constantly on the move. Their focus: to build on more than a decade of success while launching innovative programs designed to keep Mayo Clinic on the leading edge of translational research.

July 26, 2018

Desperately ill patients will get better access to experimental treatments through new effort

University of Michigan - MICHR

Patients fighting life-threatening illnesses who have run out of conventional options will get a chance to try some of the most cutting-edge treatments available, through a national effort that just received nearly $4.8 million in funding from the federal government.

Based at U-M, in partnership with Duke University, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Rochester, the effort will build a national framework to help more patients gain access to experimental drugs, devices and biologics. It is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The partner universities will build a national framework for more efficient, consistent and widespread use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Expanded Access process, to help more hospitals offer experimental options to their patients and gather data on the impact.

July 26, 2018

Bo Yu
UCLA researchers discover gene that controls bone-to-fat ratio in bone marrow


In an unexpected discovery, UCLA researchers have found that a gene previously known to control human metabolism also controls the equilibrium of bone and fat in bone marrow as well as how an adult stem cell expresses its final cell type. The findings could lead to a better understanding of the disruption of bone-to-fat ratio in bone marrow as well as its health consequences, and also point to the gene as a promising therapeutic target in the treatment of osteoporosis and skeletal aging.

Until now, the PGC-1α gene, a gene activator, was primarily known to regulate reactions that convert and sustain energy for human cells. The study — co-led by Dr. Cun-Yu Wang, chair and professor of oral biology and medicine and Dr. Bo Yu, assistant professor of restorative dentistry and KL2 scholar  — has shown that PGC-1α may actually impact whether stem cells turn into fat cells or bone marrow cells and in turn control the bone-to-fat balance in bone marrow.

July 23, 2018

Mayo Clinic
Precision genomics point the way to mutations associated with accelerated aging

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Mayo Clinic researchers are using precision genomics to search for undiscovered, inheritable genetic mutations that cause accelerated aging. In a study recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers conducted a study assessing 17 patients with short telomere syndromes — rare conditions that result in premature DNA and cellular deterioration. The ability to pinpoint the genetic abnormalities associated with short telomere syndromes is key to finding better ways to screen, diagnose and treat patients. This reserach was funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

July 20, 2018

Bioethics at the Cinema

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Bioethics at the Cinema, organized by the Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Program and the Rochester Public Library, is using popular films to create community dialogues around important, often complex biomedical ethics issues.

The Bioethics at the Cinema program began in 2017. Previous movie screenings have touched on health-related topics ranging from discrimination and intimate relationships (The Danish Girl) to gene editing and artificial intelligence (Ex Machina).

The next screening in the series will show the 2017 movie, Wonder: the story of a 10 year old boy living with a rare genetic condition who enters a mainstream elementary school. This screening of Wonder seeks to create a dialogue about genetic disorders and appreciation for difference

July 20, 2018

UR Stars
UR Stars Doctoral Career Advancement Program Supports Research Career Advancement


The new UR Stars Doctoral Career Advancement Program, which is supported by the UR CTSI, is an opportunity to enhance the faculty recruitment pipeline at the University of Rochester and establish meaningful connections with early career scholars. This two-day program serves as a career advancement opportunity for graduate students nearing the completion of their studies, post-doctoral scholars, and junior faculty.

Early career scholars of diverse backgrounds nationwide—with particular attention to historically underrepresented groups in the academy—will gain great insight about research and teaching opportunities at the University of Rochester, while exploring career and academic advancement. Scholars who participate in the program are strongly encouraged to apply for post-doctoral fellowships and faculty positions at the university.

June 27, 2018

CaSE team
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill CTSA Hub's Community Engagement has a new NAME!

NC TraCS at UNC-Chapel Hill

The Community Engagement Service at UNC's CTSA Hub has a new NAME! Our new name is now...Community and Stakeholder Engagement (CaSE) Program!

As part of the new grant, we here at NC TraCS, home of the CTSA hub at UNC, sought a name that clearly conveyed the primary mission of our program’s work and highlighted the diversity of those with whom we work and serve. Under the new grant, we are charged with broadening our historical definition of “community”, and thus will engage new and diverse populations such as providers, patients, and health systems.  Therefore, we thought the addition of the term “stakeholder” was key. Our hope is that our new name resonates with investigators across our University who engage with a variety of populations, as well as with the diverse group of stakeholders and stakeholder communities with whom we work across North Carolina and CTSA the Consortium.

For more information about the TraCS CaSE Program, please consult our website,

June 26, 2018

Cindy Shebly via Flickr Creative Commons
CHIBE Combats the Opioid Crisis, One ‘Nudge’ at a Time

Penn Medicine CTSA

Experts in many corners of Penn Medicine are at work combatting the deadly toll of the opioid epidemic, including the physicians and researchers of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) at the Perelman School of Medicine. As one of two Roybal Centers on Behavioral Economics and Health nationally funded by the National Institute of Aging of NIH, CHIBE combines psychology and economics with clinical expertise in an effort to understand why individuals make certain decisions that impact their health and how to leverage their findings to advance policy, improve health care delivery, and encourage healthy behaviors among patients and best practices among clinicians. All those elements combine in their efforts to curb prescription opioid misuse.

June 21, 2018

Staph Aureus Bacteria Donald Leung, MD
Pioneering new eczema treatments: Donald Leung, MD, pits good bacteria against bad in his research

Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

The battle between good and evil is a theme usually reserved for blockbuster movies or literature. However, biomedical researcher Donald Leung, MD, is engaged in his own epic battle, pitting good bacteria against bad in order to treat atopic dermatitis or eczema—the world’s most common skin disease.


June 20, 2018

Hundreds of research Scholars across the U.S. benefit from CTSI-hosted Mock Study Sections

University of Minnesota's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

More than 300 pre- and post -doctoral students and junior faculty Scholars at the national Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Conference have participated in a Mock Study Section hosted by the University of Minnesota CTSI’s Research Education, Training, and Career Development team since 2016. After three years of hosting the event, the University of Minnesota CTSI has passed the baton to the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), who will host the ACTS Conference Mock Study Section in 2019.

June 20, 2018

New Study Shows Medication-Based Treatment After Opioid Overdose Can Save Lives

Boston University CTSI

Survivors of opioid overdose have a higher risk of death than individuals who have not experienced an overdose. Effective strategies to lower that risk are critically important to combatting the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) are one potential strategy, but research about the effect of medication use on survival after an overdose is limited. To address that gap, a team led by researchers from the Boston University CTSI reviewed medical records for more than 17,500 adults who had survived an opioid overdose. 

June 19, 2018

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