NIH Director Visits North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute

TraCS shows how it is enabling science.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, spent the day, May 12, at the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute finding out how it is enabling science.  TraCS is the academic home of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) at UNC-CH and one of a consortium of 46 medical institutions nationwide funded by the NIH through the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).  The CTSAs were established over the last several years to speed discoveries from basic science to bedside clinical treatments and community health interventions.

Collins’ visit was part of a series of visits to CTSAs.  He was in Atlanta, April 14, and at Duke, May 11.  This was an opportunity for TraCS to showcase both the vast infrastructure and resources it has developed in the last two years to support research and highlights of the new science produced by TraCS researchers.

These CTSAs have specific strategic goals aligned with NIH’s top five priorities, which are:

1.      Promoting the use of advanced high-throughput technologies to speed discovery

2.      Translating basic science discoveries into new and better treatments

3.      Putting science to work for the benefit of health care reform

4.      Encouraging a greater focus on global health

5.      Reinvigorating and empowering the biomedical research community

Etta Pisano, principal investigator of TraCS and vice dean for academic affairs, School of Medicine, opened the meeting.  Following her were presentations by Jim Anderson, PI extender for basic science; John Buse, PI extender for clinical research; Tim Carey, PI extender for population research; Rick Boucher, PI extender for commercialization; Eugene Orringer, director of the education/training/career development core; and Joseph Alex Duncan, assistant professor of medicine.

Scientific presentations included: Yi Zhang (biochemistry/biophysics), Jonathan Juliano (medicine/infectious diseases), Stephen Offenbacher (dentistry), Alice Ammerman (nutrition/public health), Shannon Carson (medicine), Darren DeWalt (medicine/clinical epidemiology), and Kenneth I. Ataga (sickle cell disease).