Penn State University is taking bold steps to innovate its biomedical research and education enterprise through the newly-created Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Our long-range goal is to develop, implement and evaluate methods that better predict, prevent and treat human disease. We plan to accomplish this by aligning the collective capabilities and responsibilities of researchers, the University, industry and the community, and by nurturing a new generation of researchers, health professionals and community leaders. In health research it is paramount that translation be aimed at improving outcome. Clinical research should guide new basic research, and basic research should aim to achieve clinical utility. Over time, we intend to reshape Penn State’s basic and applied science portfolio to accelerate the translation of scientific innovations into health gains for our nation.
Penn State is one of the nation’s premier research universities with annual research expenditures that exceed $700M. We have cutting-edge capabilities in a vast array of basic and applied disciplines that are relevant to health and critical to discovery and development of innovative tools. We have a well-established model of interdisciplinary institutes that support team science across academic units, and major initiatives involving science from gene to protein to population to improve people’s health. Our institutes, inter-college and dual-degree education models enable us to be responsive to societal needs, student interests, and durable trends in science. As one of the nation’s major land-grant universities we operate one of the largest outreach networks and use it to define the community’s needs and to rapidly deploy advances in healthcare.
The Penn State College of Medicine (CoM) is a young and thriving healthcare and research enterprise serving over 2 million people in central Pennsylvania. This population represents a microcosm of the nation at large, with demographics representing an urban, suburban, rural and diverse racial and ethnic mix. A significant portion is economically disadvantaged and a disproportionately large fraction is elderly. Through our CTSI, the CoM, Penn State University as a whole, and stakeholders from the community and industry, we are committed to act as a collaborative engine that drives research initiatives to better predict, prevent and treat disease in the people we serve. To realize this vision, we will pursue the following broad goals:
1. To catalyze interdisciplinary collaboration and novel approaches to predict, prevent and treat disease. To this end, we will engage investigators and professionals from across and outside of the traditional boundaries of biomedicine, and from within and beyond Penn State. We will expand community engagement and establish trust, needs, and new venues to implement novel predictive, preventive and therapeutic strategies. This will be achieved by integration of basic and clinical research, outreach, and information technology resources and through pilot grant programs that align expertise with needs and effective interventions.
2. To provide access to investigators across the University to resources that enhance and rigorously evaluate the impact of clinical and translational research. This will be achieved by innovative investigator-centered support services that strengthen and speed up research protocol development, and study completion, and by promoting and sharing practices of excellence.
3. To train a new generation of health professionals and investigators that is fluent across diverse and emerging disciplines, sensitive to the overarching purpose of health research, and equipped to successfully deal with socioeconomic and ethical issues that arise when technological capabilities and the society’s imperatives meet with economic constraints. This will be achieved through novel interdisciplinary degree and career development programs in clinical and translational science.
4. To effectively share and disseminate data, discoveries and new knowledge with researchers, health practitioners, other institutions (CTSA Consortium), and the community at large. This will be achieved by building a cutting-edge informatics infrastructure, embracing transparent dissemination practices, and welcoming collaborations with outside partners to make use of unique Penn State research resources.
Larry Sinoway, MD
Urs Leuenberger, MD
Susan McHale, PhD