Latest News from Around the CTSA Program Consortium

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

UCLA Health
New App Uses Machine Learning to Interpret Babies' Cries


A UCLA research team, led by Ariana Anderson, an assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine, has created Chatterbaby, an app that uses artifical intellegence to tell parents that their infant is crying -- and why the baby is upset.

Available for free on iPhone and Android devices and at, the app allows parents to record and upload their babies' cries, which are then analyzed using artificial intelligence.  Anderson's research was supported by a voucher from CTSI to use the facilities of the Computing Technologies Research Lab.

Scientists believe that a new crying-pattern study launched through the app will provide insight into whether certain patterns can later be associated with specific development disorders, such as autism. Scientists believe the app also may help parents with hearing loss or who are deaf, as well as new parents who may not yet understand what their baby is trying to communicate. In addition, the app may help some women with postpartum depression because research shows they may have more difficulty than woman without depression discerning the meaning of their babies' cries.

June 18, 2018

CCTSI's Linda Carlin presents at the first Latin American REDCap Conference
CCTSI sends data experts to first Latin American REDCap Conference

Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) is many things to many people — but in its essence — it supports biomedical researchers in their work. One key aspect of this mission is a web-based application for building and managing online research databases called Research Electronic Data Capture or REDCap. In April of this year, REDCap hosted its inaugural conference in Latin America and the CCTSI sent Amanda Miller, MLIS and Linda Carlin, PhD, to share their expertise. Miller and Carlin provide the oversight and training for the CCTSI’s REDCap instance.

Vanderbilt University’s Rob Taylor developed REDCap in 2004 on behalf of the Clinical and Translational Award (CTSA) program of the NIH. The CCTSI officially adopted the open source software in 2008 and started underwriting the costs of providing it to its members. Today CCTSI has nearly 4,000 active users of REDCap. Worldwide, REDCap has more than 728,000 users from 120 countries.

June 18, 2018

Scientists see inner workings of enzyme telomerase, which plays key roles in aging, cancer


The activity of telomerase is critical to health, affecting aging, cancer and stem cell renewal. But scientific understanding of the enzyme has been limited by a lack of atomic-level models. Now a team led by Juli Feigon, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA, has reported the highest-resolution 3D-map of telomerase's catalytic core to date, providing fresh insights into the human telomerase mechanism, mutations that affect its function, and a framework for designing therapies that target telomerase. 

"We're now seeing not just the face of the clock, we're seeing how the components inside interact to make it work," Dr. Feigon said. "At each step, we zoom in closer and see more and more details, and can now begin to deduce not just what the enzyme looks like, but also how it functions. Knowing that may lead to the development of new drugs that target specific parts of the enzyme."

In addition to reporting the highest level of detail ever seen of the structure of telomerase's catalytic core, the researchers reported that they captured telomerase in the process of making DNA for the first time. The research was supported in part by a CTSI voucher for cores services to Dr. Feigon.

June 14, 2018

New Clinical Trial Takes Personalized Approach for Rare Type of ALS in Appalachia

University of Kentucky CCTS

The TRANSLATE clinical trial, led by a multidisciplinary team of doctors and scientists, is looking for hope in an existing FDA-approved drug. 

June 13, 2018

Effectively Implementing the Revised Common Rule

Clinical Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland

In the most recent Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) issued on April 20, 2018, HHS not only proposed a 6-month delay, but also will allow for implementation of three burden-reducing provisions during the period between July 18, 2018 and January 21, 2019.  These are:  

  1. Early adoption of the Revised Common Rule definition of “research”
  2. Elimination of grant application review
  3. Elimination of continuing Review for certain non-exempt human research

In this uncertain environment, caught between old and new regulations, it is critical that organizations prepare for upcoming changes and challenges, especially around regulatory and guidance landscapes, accreditation, business management processes, staffing and technology.  Managers and administrators should continue working on updating policies, procedures and review tools as guidance is released.  Ensure that standard operating procedures and review tools are maintained in a way that they can easily be adjusted and re-implemented.  Utilize technology in a way to ensure that work flows are able to be adjusted fluidly based on the date that the final rule is effective.  Additionally, planning for ongoing trainings with IRB staff and reviewers to incorporate revisions are important.

June 13, 2018

Getty Images, The Daily, Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University, Lucid Diagnostics sign license agreement to commercialize fast, accurate Barrett’s Esophagus detector

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) of Cleveland

In 2012 and 2013, Drs. Nathan Berger and Amitabh Chak, partnered with the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) of Cleveland to sponsor the Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network (BETRNet) Pilot Grant Program. This partnership provided translational support which ultimately helped the founders' research develop the EsoCheck technology through BETRNet. 

June 11, 2018

Josh Franzos
Data and Safety Monitoring Board Training Manual Now Available

Tufts CTSI, Johns Hopkins University ICTR, University of Colorado CTSI, University of Texas CCTS, University of Pittsburgh CTSI, University of Washington ITHS, University of Rochester CTSI, University of North Carolina TCSI, The Ohio State University CCT

The CTSA Collaborative Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) Workgroup identified a need to provide guidance, training and resources in DSMB practices for investigator-initiated research studies. To promote clinical and translational research, the CTSA Collaborative DSMB Workgroup, supported by NCATS, has produced an online DSMB Training Manual with a focus on investigator-initiated studies. This manual provides information and training for Principal Investigators, DSMB members, IRB members, biostatisticians, and research staff on how to work effectively with DSMBs.

June 01, 2018

Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic Researcher Receives $2M Grant to Study Role of Cancer’s Genetic Composition in Predicting the Effectiveness of Radiation Therapy

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) of Cleveland

Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD became a CTSC KL2 Scholar in 2015 under the mentorship of Michael Kattan, PhD and Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Abazeed's research program focuses on identifying the genetic abnormalities that give rise to therapeutic resistance in cancer and using this information to develop personalized therapeutic strategies in a new strategy of biologically-guided treatments. He uses his experiences in patient care to develop a clinically relevant research program to study cancers and to translate laboratory discoveries into potential improvements in clinical care.

Patients that do not respond to DNA damaging x-rays or chemotherapy have the poorest of clinical outcomes and suffer substantially due to recalcitrance of their tumor to therapeutic palliation. As a radiation oncologist, these observations have inspired him to develop a research program that addresses this unmet clinical need. Dr. Abazeed's lab has developed a large body of data annotating the genomic landscape of therapeutic resistance in cancer and is focused on studying recently discovered genomic alterations in order to better understand and therapeutically target cancers with greater precision. In 2016, his lab published results of the largest profiling effort of cancer cell survival after radiation, comprising a collection of 533 genetically annotated tumor cell lines from 26 cancer types. Results showed significant biological diversity in the survival of cancer cells after exposure to ionizing radiation, and offered evidence that new genetic features regulating cellular response to these treatments can be identified. 

May 31, 2018

NYU CTSI Announces Newly Formed Patient Advisory Council for Research

New York University School of Medicine CTSI

Facilitated by the Recruitment and Retention Unit, the Patient Advisory Council for Research consists of 16 patients from NYU Langone Health who attend meetings every other month to give feedback on research ideas, acceptability and feasibility of studies from a patient perspective, and how best to advertise studies.

There have been 4 meetings since its inception in the fall of 2017, and attendance has remained high. Select meeting topics have included: prostate cancer and social media representation, a food and microbiome longitudinal investigation study, cognitive impairment comorbidities in older adults, and how to make study materials more accessible to patients.

Council members were randomly selected from NYU EHR and contacted electronically. Council members vary by age, race, gender, and health conditions; they are also reimbursed for their time and travel.

May 22, 2018

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