Penn State receives $20 million grant to accelerate medical discoveries

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Penn State, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine will continue the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) through an award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) is designed to accelerate scientific discoveries found in the laboratory into public health improvements.

Founded in 2007, the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute is one of three institutes in Pennsylvania demonstrating the commitment and expertise necessary to deliver on the promise of improved health.

The awards means the CTSI will be able to expand its service as a hub for interdisciplinary research at Penn State. Fostering connections throughout the institution and in the community, the CTSI will play a vital role in effectively and efficiently moving discoveries out of the laboratory to improve public health.

Over the next four years, the grant will provide institutional training programs for faculty, staff and students; support for pilot projects to explore novel research; and development of bioinformatics infrastructure for researchers to analyze large amounts of data to aid in the prediction and prevention of disease.

“Penn State’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute is working to address issues in human health in transformative ways, and this NIH $20 million grant is critically important in funding the efforts of our interdisciplinary teams,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Congratulations to the students, faculty and staff who have been conducting the stellar work that resulted in this award, and our deepest appreciation goes to the NIH for again recognizing the value of the Institute.”

Since inception, the CTSI has served as a catalyst for translational research at Penn State, investing $1.9 million in 49 pilot projects, which led to approximately $38 million in external grants. The CTSI has established strong collaborations with a consortium of more than 50 medical research institutions in the CTSA network by adopting and sharing research tools and best practices. StudyFinder, a website that connects the community with clinical research studies at Hershey Medical Center, was adapted from a platform developed by the national CTSA network.

The CTSI has concentrated on educating the next generation of the clinical and translational workforce through programs that provide mentored career development. A number of scholars have gone on to receive support from federal funding sources such as the NIH and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to continue their research.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, part of the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), supports a national consortium of more than 60 medical research institutions in 31 states.

Penn State is one of the nation’s premiere research universities, with annual research expenditures of $836 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The University has 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.

“The CTSI provides an opportunity for us to strengthen how we integrate basic and clinical research, and to use research informatics and innovative community engagement strategies to better understand how we can manage the health of diverse populations,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, chief executive officer of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and senior vice president of health affairs for Penn State. “We look forward to playing a role in helping NCATS drive discoveries that improve healthcare.”

The Penn State CTSI connects diverse disciplines including the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the College of Medicine, College of Health and Human Development, College of Nursing, Eberly College of Science, College of Engineering, College of Information Sciences and Technology, College of Agricultural Sciences, College of the Liberal Arts, Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, Institute for CyberScience, and the Social Science Research Institute.

“The CTSA has transformed the way we conduct research at Penn State by supporting additional infrastructure for studies, training and networking with other CTSA-funded sites around the country,” said Dr. Leslie Parent, vice dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Medicine and Penn State’s associate vice dean for health sciences research. “This award indicates that we are making excellent progress and provides us with the opportunity to expand our initiatives to move discoveries from the bench to the bedside, leading to improvements in health.”

“This award is a testament to the quality of clinical and translational research at Penn State,” said Dr. Lawrence Sinoway, CTSI director. “It demonstrates the high level of collaboration across the university in the field of clinical research. Grants like this one also help create or maintain good-paying jobs, and promising ideas generated in the lab and proven in clinical settings lead to the creation of new biomedical companies and industries that benefit the overall economy.”

To learn more about the Penn State CTSI visit ctsi.psu.edu and to learn more about the NIH’s CTSA program, visit http://www.ncats.nih.gov/ctsa.

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Last Updated April 21, 2017