CTSI Blog

CTSI is now accepting applications for two programs aimed at supporting translational researchers. The new Pediatric Medical Device Translational Grant Program will support the development of pediatric medical devices, while the KL2 Scholars Career Development Program will support U of M junior faculty investigators.

Pediatric Medical Device Translational Grant Program
This funding program supports the development of pediatric medical devices, with the ultimate goal of improving pediatric patient outcomes and quality of life through technology-driven medical solutions. The program's partners, CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) and the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC), will provide funded investigators with work strategy guidance, frequent feedback, and access to comprehensive internal and external services. ODAT and PDIC anticipate funding up to three projects, awarding each a maximum of $50,000 for one year. Mandatory letters of intent are due April 10, 2014. Learn more and apply.

KL2 Scholars Career Development Program
This career development program provides mentorship, training, and funds to assistant professors (rank ≤ 6 years) conducting clinical and translational research. Up to one awardee will receive 75% salary support, up to $26,000 per year in research and travel funds for three years, training, and ongoing support from mentors and CTSI's Research Education, Training, and Career Development team. The structured training program aims to help awarded investigators be more successful, equipping them with skills to chart their academic career path, secure extramural funding, and pursue scholarly publications. Applications are due May 15, 2014 by 5pm. Learn more and apply.


Five faculty investigators will be conducting health research at this year's Minnesota State Fair, thanks to grants from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). CTSI awarded a combined $29,908 to U of M researchers through its new Driven to Discover Community Health and Research Grants Program, which supports pilot research and evaluation projects that address health issues facing Minnesotans.

Grant recipients will enroll and collect data from State Fair attendees at the U of M's new Driven to Discover building. This dedicated research facility, a joint effort of the Office of the Vice President for Research, the School of Public Health, and the Medical School, offers university and community researchers access to approximately 1.7 million potential participants each year, and will be a unique resource for carrying out population-based research.

The grants program is managed by the Office of Community Engagement for Health, a CTSI function focused on building relationships with communities to conduct, disseminate, and apply health research.

Congratulations to the inaugural awardees:

Sarah Beehler, PhD, Department of Biobehavioral Health & Population Sciences (Duluth), in partnership with the Medical School Department of Psychiatry and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center
Project Title: Assessing Supportive Resources of Veterans and Their Families in Greater Minnesota

Jayne Fulkerson, PhD, School of Nursing, in partnership with the Extension Center for Family Development
Project Title: Childhood Obesity Prevention in Rural Minnesota Communities

Traci Mann, PhD, Department of Psychology
Project Title: Self-Regulation of Eating in an Unstructured Eating Environment

Sarah Schellinger, Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science, in partnership with the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance
Project Title: The Role of Education on Public Perceptions of Traumatic Brain Injury

Karl Self, MBA, DDS, School of Dentistry, in partnership with the Minnesota Dental Therapy Association
Project Title: Minnesotans' Awareness and Attitudes about Dental Therapists as a Function of Health Literacy and Caries Risk

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has released a new video in which two U of M faculty researchers - Drs. Bhargava and Shlafer - talk about how CTSI has helped them be more successful.

Maneesh Bhargava, MD, is an assistant professor with the U of M's Department of Medicine and a CTSI K to RO1 Scholar who's studying biomarkers that can predict outcomes in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). "CTSI has had a huge impact on my career," says Dr. Bhargava, citing how CTSI helped him protect his time so he can devote most of his time to research. He also notes benefiting from CTSI's support on study design and statistics, as well as the weekly seminars he attends as a CTSI scholar.

The video also features Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, an assistant professor at the U of M's Department of Pediatrics and a CTSI KL2 Scholar. Dr. Shlafer's research focuses on incarcerated parents in Minnesota and their minor children. In the video, she describes how she benefits from CTSI's "intentional link with community partners," as well as mentors who have helped her with everything from survey development to distilling her research for a conference at the White House.

Drs. Bhargava and Shlafer are part of CTSI career development programs that provide support via mentorship, training, and funds.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute has accepted ten junior faculty investigators into its research career development programs. As CTSI scholars, they will receive mentorship, training, and funds to help advance their research careers and compete for federal grants.

Investigators have the opportunity to move through CTSI's career development pipeline, joining as early-stage investigators and competing for advanced career development awards as they build independent research careers.
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The New Investigator Pre-K Pilot Career Development Program provides mentorship, training, and funds to new investigators interested in clinical and translational research. The program is designed to prepare investigators to successfully compete for NIH K or R21 awards.

Erica Schorr, PhD, BSBA, RN, School of Nursing
Project title: Utilizing Wearable Technology to Monitor Physical Activity and Sleep After Coronary Revascularization
Primary mentor: Ruth Lindquist, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
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The KL2 Scholars Career Development Program is designed to develop the next generation of clinical investigators through a structured training program with a mentored, multidisciplinary clinical research emphasis, salary support, and research funds. This three-year program aims to place junior investigators on the path to be competitive for NIH K- or R-series awards.

Xiufeng Li, PhD, Department of Radiology
Project title: Advanced Multi-Parametric MR Imaging for Renal Transplantation
Primary mentor: Gregory Metzger, PhD

Ann Parr, MD, PhD, Neurosurgery Department
Project title: Autologous Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells for Transplantation in Spinal Cord Injury
Primary mentor: Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, Department of Pediatrics
Project title: Incarcerated Parents in Minnesota and their Minor Children
Primary mentor: Michael Resnick, PhD

Guisheng Song, PhD, Department of Medicine
Project title: The combination of miR-24-ASO and miR-30e-ASO as a therapeutic agent for both NAFLD and hyperlipidemia
Primary mentor: Clifford Steer, MD
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The K to R01 Transition to Independence Program aims to place junior investigators, who have K awards, further on the path to be competitive for NIH R01 or equivalent awards and independence. This two-year program provides scholars with mentorship, training, and pilot funds.

Maneesh Bhargava, MD, Department of Medicine
Project title: Biomarkers to predict outcomes in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Primary mentor: Chris H. Wendt, MD

Melena Bellin, MD, Department of Pediatrics
Project title: Assessing beta cell loss and islet engraftment after islet autotransplantation
Primary mentor: Antoinette Moran, MD

Kathryn Cullen, MD, Department of Psychiatry
Project title: Intravenous Ketamine in Adolescent Treatment-Resistant Depression: Efficacy and Brain Mechanisms
Primary mentor: Kelvin O. Lim, MD

Paul Drawz, MD, Department of Medicine
Project title: Treatment of Masked Hypertension
Primary mentor: Hassan Ibrahim, MD, MS

Kristine Talley, PhD, RN, GNP-BC, School of Nursing
Project title: Preventing Toileting Disability in Frail Older Women
Primary mentor: Jean F. Wyman, PhD, RN, GNP-BC, FAAN, FGSA

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) recently began administering the Committee for Pharmaceutical Development (CPD), an initiative that helps faculty researchers bring therapeutics from basic research into clinical practice via funding and strategic guidance. The Committee - comprised of proven drug-development experts from both the University of Minnesota and industry partners - provides researchers with the broad expertise required to develop and commercialize pharmaceutical products.

While CPD's function and sponsors will remain unchanged, the program is now housed within CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT), which supports researchers in the early stages of translational research by helping them put promising ideas and discoveries on the path to improved health. Like CPD, CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation utilizes grant funding mechanisms and a team-based model to advance discoveries and promote a culture of therapeutics development.

"Developing new therapeutics is the ultimate team sport. No single researcher possesses the regulatory, clinical development, intellectual property, and commercial expertise required to successfully bring a drug to market," says Charles Muscoplat, Ph.D., who serves as Chair of CPD, Dean Emeritus of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and a professor of medicine, microbiology, and food science and nutrition.

Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni, who serves as both a Project Manager for CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation and a Program Manager for CPD adds, "Both CPD and CTSI embrace this team approach, connecting researchers with experts and specialists who can help them make the leap from basic research to real-life application."

CPD was originally launched as a pilot program in FY12 under the joint sponsorship of the Academic Health Center and Office of the Vice President for Research, which oversees the Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC). OTC originally created the program to foster the development of promising therapeutics discovered at the U and to enable researchers to obtain commercially relevant developmental feedback and research funding in order to increase the chances of attracting commercial interest.

"CTSI and the Committee for Pharmaceutical Development share a commitment to improving human health and helping researchers be more successful," says Tucker LeBien, PhD, Associate Director of CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation, Vice Dean for Research for the Medical School, and Associate Vice President for Research in the Academic Health Center. "By uniting our respective strengths and successes, we can provide faculty researchers with the highest level of support and continue creating a legacy of drug-development and commercialization success at the University of Minnesota."

The CPD Review Committee meets monthly and accepts funding requests on a continual basis. If you are interested in applying for funding, please contact Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni at 612-626-6945 or fenl0003@umn.edu.