Written by Christina Crowe
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science $33.59 million over four years to continue the center‚Äôs programs advancing translational research.
Since its initial funding in 2008 through Alabama‚Äôs only Center for Translational Science Award to work toward innovative discoveries for better health, the UAB CCTS has nurtured UAB research, accelerating the process of translating laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, training a new generation of clinical and translational researchers, and engaging communities in clinical research efforts.
The CCTS will continue to advance its mission to accelerate the delivery of new drugs, methodologies and practices to patients at UAB and throughout a partner network of 11 institutions in the Southeast.
‚ÄúWe are excited by the capacity to continue to enhance our institution‚Äôs and our region‚Äôs innovative research and medical care,‚ÄĚ said Robert Kimberly, M.D., UAB CCTS director. ‚ÄúThrough internal and external partnerships, as well as a robust clinical environment and cutting-edge informatics and clinical trial resources, we look forward to working with our patients over the course of their lifespan.‚ÄĚ
Congress launched the CTSA program in 2006, which is overseen by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
The amount of this award, more than double its previous funding awarded in 2008 and one of the largest at UAB, reflects an unmatched enthusiasm for the CCTS and its affiliated programs. It includes funding for 10 annual pre-doctoral training awards, 10 summer training awards, and eight career development awards for senior postdoctoral fellows or faculty-level candidates.
‚ÄúOur training programs continue to foster a culture of responsible, ethical practice among students, faculty and clinicians conducting human subjects research,‚ÄĚ Kimberly said. ‚ÄúThe NIH‚Äôs support of our expansive partner network, encompassing 11 regional academic and medical institutions throughout Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, will allow us to further grow our scope of practices and research resources as we look to tackle health disparities in the Southeast.‚ÄĚ
Through One Great Community, the CCTS‚Äô community engagement enterprise, and the Community Health Innovation Awards, the CCTS engages Greater Birmingham-area residents in innovative programs designed by community members to improve their neighborhoods.
‚ÄúUAB is fully committed to the goals of the CCTS and to its continued development as a hub for clinical and translational research in the Southeast,‚ÄĚ said UAB President Ray L. Watts. ‚ÄúThis significant renewal speaks to the tremendous work and vision of our CCTS leadership and team, as well as our clinical infrastructure, scientific strengths, informatics expertise, training programs, and biostatistical and research design assistance.
‚ÄúThe CCTS touches researchers in all UAB schools and across the partner network, and we are thrilled that this important work will continue with the confidence and support of the NIH.‚ÄĚ
State and regional impact
‚ÄúThe growth of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at UAB will foster economic development in the state and throughout the region,‚ÄĚ said Senator Richard Shelby. ‚ÄúWith a history of providing optimal clinical care and innovation in human health, UAB‚Äôs receipt of this prestigious award enables the continued development of the workforce that is necessary to meet the needs of future research advancement.‚ÄĚ
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, himself a physician, voiced his appreciation for the CCTS‚Äô initiatives. ‚ÄúThe center has been highly effective in providing assistance in the state‚Äôs efforts to eliminate the health disparities seen throughout our region,‚ÄĚ Bentley said. ‚ÄúWhether across the life course or in underserved groups disproportionately affected by cancer, stroke, heart conditions and other diseases prevalent in our state, the center has been exemplary in reaching out to our citizens.‚ÄĚ
UAB Vice President, Research and Economic Development Richard Marchase, Ph.D., says he is particularly pleased that the CCTS is building on UAB‚Äôs history of serving populations burdened by health disparities through its partnerships with other state and regional institutions committed to advancing health through translational research. ‚ÄúIt is through this culture of commitment and collaboration,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúthat we have become a national leader in biomedical research.‚ÄĚ