Here at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati Children’s, and the VA Medical Center, research empowerment can be considered a five-letter word.

Ever since 2005, investigators involved in the later stages of biomedical research have found an academic home at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST). In a given year, this multifaceted center provides a wide array of support service to about 250 clinical and translational studies—work that can involve more than 40 divisions at Cincinnati Children’s and as many as 15 departments and divisions at UC.

That means, sooner or later, investigators here will be in close contact with the CCTST.

“The vision of the CCTST is that it be the go-to place for clinical and translational researchers to get support for their work,” says James Heubi, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.

What does the CCTST do? The center’s functions include:

  • Providing consultation to investigators on research design and implementation
  • Providing support for faculty and fellows pursuing NIH career development awards
  • Assisting young faculty in building careers in clinical and translational research
  • Assisting faculty in preparing large multi-disciplinary, multi-school, and multi-institutional grants
  • Spearheading efforts to write institutional training grants
  • Coordinating clinical and translational research, and related training programs

An information resource

The CCTST helps coordinate digital research data sharing through a voucher system that provides investigators with access to biostatistical, study design and biomedical informatics resources. Its REDCap service provides de-identified clinical data to more than 400 investigators a year.

The center provides members with detailed information about grant opportunities and application deadlines. It hosts numerous speakers, trainers and workshops. It also helps investigators here find collaborators and seed funding.

“The CCTST is a central hub for educational programs related to clinical and translational research for all level learners from undergraduate and graduate students, residents, fellows and faculty, including MS and certificate programs,” Heubi says. “More than 160 students have graduated from the MS program and more than 120 from the certificate program. Combined, these graduates have published nearly 4,000 papers and have obtained more than $140 million in research grants.”

Building from the core

Since 2009, the CCTST has coordinated more than $8.8 million in pilot and core program grants that have led to more than $125 million in extramural grants.

Among the largest of its responsibilities, the CCTST spearheads the Academic Health Center’s application for an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). This funding supports activities ranging from computational infrastructure to research ethics and community engagement.

Our first CTSA grant was funded in April 2009, and renewed in August 2015.

“The CCTST team has devoted much of the past year to another renewal application which was submitted on May 25, 2018,” Heubi says. “We are hopeful that we have a fundable score for application that will provide five more years of funding.”