The Center for Clinical and Translational Science, or CCTS, at the University of Illinois at Chicago will receive $22 million in new funding from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, to continue its work supporting critical clinical and translational health research programs.
The center received initial funding in 2009 and over the last decade, it has helped provide multidisciplinary training and support to hundreds of faculty, researchers and staff at UIC who are involved in research that bridges the gap between scientific labs and patient care or community needs.
“The continued funding of the CCTS underscores UIC’s deep-rooted commitment to translational discovery that directly benefits our patients and communities,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC. “We are proud of this continued recognition and thankful for the investment in our interdisciplinary excellence across the university and its academic health enterprise.”
“Never has the value and need for clinical translational research been more evident and important as during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when teams of researchers have been pulling together to address the critical health needs of the population,” said Dr. Robin Mermelstein, co-director of the center and UIC professor of psychology. “The CCTS has been able to leverage vital institutional support from UIC to accelerate progress in moving discoveries into practice and policy and helping to develop opportunities and careers of faculty to address the health challenges we face.”
The new funding will be provided over five years.
The UIC center, which is part of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, is one of more than 50 centers in the U.S. to be funded as a hub of biomedical research.
It is one of the few research hubs to include research programs from seven health sciences colleges — including applied health sciences, dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and social work — as well as other complementary UIC colleges, including engineering, liberal arts and sciences, and urban planning and public affairs.
According to the center’s directors, the breadth of potential collaborations across all of UIC’s 16 colleges is one of the strengths of the CCTS, which also is recognized for its attention to addressing health disparities and the needs of the Chicago community.
The center provides fundamental research services and tools — such as access to clinical data, informatics support, biostatistical support and consultation, data management tools, and training in community-based research collaborations — as well as mentoring and training. It also provides opportunities to develop innovative research addressing health issues through pilot funding, mentored career development and support for team science and interdisciplinary collaborations.
“The center provides support at every level of the research spectrum, from basic science through community engagement and implementation, and fosters collaborations between different disciplines with infrastructure, training, expertise and pilot funding as well as through conferences focused on critical research topics designed to bring researchers from all disciplines together,” said Dr. Richard Novak, co-director of the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science and UIC professor and head of infectious diseases.
Since 2009, UIC’s CCTS has provided more than $4 million in pilot funding to research projects across campus. Pilot funding has resulted in $54 million in subsequent external grant funding. Over 700 publications have cited CCTS support.
“With renewed funding, we look forward to continuing to help push clinical translational research forward rapidly so we can be most responsive to the complex needs of our communities,” Mermelstein said.