About the Institute for Translational Sciences

Welcome to the Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) at UTMB. We are in an exciting phase of growth in translational sciences. The ITS is an indication of the university’s strategic commitment to this new and exciting opportunity, where science and medicine merge. On this site you will find helpful information with resources available for the conduct of translational research, and training opportunities for those who wish to consider careers in translational research.

We are increasingly aware that the optimal approach to translational research involves effective communication. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and, in turn, clinicians provide basic scientists with feedback on how these tools work. Similarly, dialog with community representatives identifies new opportunities for translational research and increases its impact; and for this reason the ITS will seek to facilitate communication between basic scientists, clinicians, subjects and the community.

Therefore, the goals of the ITS are to:

  1. Facilitate translational research as a discipline at UTMB
  2. Stimulate the application of postgenomic tools in the conduct of translational research and monitor their effectiveness
  3. Proactively catalyze multidisciplinary translational teams
  4. Develop training programs in translational research at all levels of graduate training
  5. Facilitate productive communication in translational research amongst faculty, subjects and the communities they live in
  6. Interface with the national CTSA consortium.

To more effectively conduct translational research, the UTMB ITS is guided by four overlying principles:

1. Employ proactive mechanisms in identifying new research opportunities. Our leadership proactively identifies new research opportunities with significant potential, organizes them into functional multidisciplinary translational teams (MTTs), and multiplies their impact by supplying specific key CTSA resources. To date, we have formed 11 MTTs on themes related to a broad spectrum of translational research including burn injuries, severe asthma, chronic hepatitis C infection, aging, obesity/metabolism and pediatric mucosal infections.

2. Prioritize trainee involvement in a team-based culture. Our career development and training programs are intended for trainees at all levels, from predoctoral (medical, graduate and nursing), to postdoctoral, and early-career faculty. Our intent is to integrate new trainees into our MTTs, so that we foster a culture of team-oriented research, providing examples of how productive interdisciplinary teams function and can be rewarded within the framework of an AHC.

3. Integrate systems biological approaches into translational research. In the postgenomic era, high-throughput tools such as genomics, proteomics, and biomedical informatics provide unique opportunities for translation, including biomarker identification, risk stratification, and multidimensional interrogation of complex biological processes. These present important opportunities to make significant advances in understanding human biological systems and how they are modified in disease. In fact, ITS supported MTTs have successfully identified disease signatures in atopic asthma, otitis media, hepatitis C-induced hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer, burns injury, addiction, aging, obesity, maternal fetal medicine, women’s reproductive health and cancer support.

 4. Participate in the national CTSA consortium.  We are currently developing an infrastructure for effective data sharing with other CTSAs. To this end, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint UTMB-UTHSC Center in Personalized Health Informatics. This is a joint training and research center in partnership with UT Houston School of Health Information Sciences. This collaboration make us well positioned to participate in the national CTSA consortium.


Overview

ITS Overview