We created the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) in 2007 as the academic home and primary advocate for clinical and translational science in Missouri and southern Illinois by building on 3 translational research pillars: infrastructure and resources, educational programs, and scientific collaborations. The ICTS transformed culture and practice around translational research at Washington University (WU) and our partnering health care system BJC HealthCare (BJC), and fostered new partnerships with St. Louis
University (SLU), the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, and the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). ICTS support has enabled novel clinical studies, multi-center trials, and community engaged research, resulting in discovery and testing of novel diagnostics and therapeutics in varied populations across the lifespan. To improve health on a larger scale, we must now build on this strong foundation to conduct T1-T4 research that advances the pace of discovery and disseminates and implements research results to improve personal, community, and population health. To do so, we will pursue the following Overall Aims, which align well with the 5 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) goals:

Aim 1: Provide interdisciplinary programs to develop, promote, and retain highly qualified and diverse faculty, trainees, and staff who can translate scientific discoveries into action.

We will enhance our strong base of existing research education and training programs, including both coursework and experiential learning, to expand our workforce’s ability to work in teams to conduct high-impact research and translate their discoveries to the clinic, the community, and the biomedical marketplace. We will tailor our efforts to the needs of individuals, promote formation of transdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and inter-hub teams, rigorously assess our programs, and draw on our institutional and regional strengths in genomics, dissemination and implementation, and entrepreneurship. (WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT)

Aim 2: Facilitate research that is designed for implementation by engaging diverse communities and stakeholders in collaborative teams at all stages of the translational research process.

Clinical and translational research that is conducted with the active participation of end users will more rapidly advance knowledge and improve health. We will partner with our patient advocates, propel the science of community and stakeholder engagement and collaboration, break down barriers to allow integration of research findings into clinical practice, and capitalize on our local entrepreneurial ecosystem to apply discoveries to improve community health. (COLLABORATION AND ENGAGEMENT)

Aim 3: Integrate research across the lifespan and promote translational science within complex populations.

Traditionally, clinical and translational scientists have considered a patient as a person with a particular disease at a distinct point in time. To improve human health, we must consider multiple biological and environmental factors from pre-conception through advanced age. The ICTS will address health disparities and differences in disease manifestations across different ages and among special populations, address both urban and rural populations, catalyze formation of transdisciplinary teams, and evaluate the clinical, community, and entrepreneurial outcomes of our researchers’ work. (INTEGRATION)

Aim 4: Drive innovation, quality, and efficiency in translational research.

The ICTS will facilitate the development of new methodological approaches to solve key analytical and logistical roadblocks in translational science. We will adopt and apply best practices from industry and other CTSA hubs to create streamlined institutional processes to conduct efficient and high-quality multi-center clinical trials. We will explore and implement innovative methods to engage stakeholders and research participants in clinical trials, targeting different populations, life stages, and health states. (METHODS AND PROCESSES)

Aim 5: Apply innovative informatics solutions to improve quality and efficiency at every stage of translational research, and create an ecosystem that integrates diverse data and facilitates the interoperability, use, and reuse of digital assets.

WU and its hub partners are engaged in transformational restructuring of clinical and research informatics; the ICTS will seize this opportunity to ensure interoperability
of current and archived datasets, implement new informatics technologies to enhance investigators’ productivity, and promote the formation of interdisciplinary research teams to apply informatics tools to advance clinical and translational science. (INFORMATICS)

Impact: Successful completion of these aims will transform regional research, dissemination, and workforce development and will apply the considerable resources of WU and its partners to national CTSA goals to advance clinical and translational science and improve human health.