Technology Development and Translational Research

Translational Research Program

Advances in our knowledge of basic biology, together with a rapid increase in our understanding of molecular genetics, are providing unprecedented opportunities to develop new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. As part of the Beckman Center’s emphasis on translational medicine, the PMGM established the Interdisciplinary Translational Research Seed Grant Program.

Stimulating Collaborations across Multiple Disciplines

The primary goal of the seed grant program is to stimulate collaborations across multiple disciplines and forge a meaningful interface between the basic, applied, and clinical sciences so that laboratory research and discovery can be “translated” into new diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The program also seeks to engage trainees—medical students, graduate students, clinical fellows, and postdoctoral fellows—in groundbreaking collaborative research. Projects funded under this program represent innovation in a broad array of scientific disciplines, with teams composed of two or more researchers, including a combination of physician-investigators, basic scientists, applied scientists, and trainees.

Translational research seed grant projects have resulted in promising outcomes that include significant research data, published papers, grant and patent applications, and media coverage.

The seed grant program stimulates collaborations across disciplines so that research discoveries can be translated into therapeutic applications.


In order to help initiate innovative new translational research projects, the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine conducts a highly competitive technology development granting program, in which pairs of investigators representing different disciplines propose risky but high-pay-off experiments in technology innovation.

PMGM advisory committee members evaluate the proposals and the Center provides $100,000 a year (for projects of two years’ duration) to the best proposals. This program has been highly successful and has leveraged funding from both federal and private sources for many of the seeded proposals.

Seed Grants Awarded, By Year

  • Building a Complete Machine Learning Toolkit for Faster Autism Detection and Care at Home. Carl Feinstein, Child Psychiatry; Dennis Wall, Pediatrics, Systems Medicine, Bioinformatics; Terry Winograd, Computer Science; Jan Liphardt, Bioengineering; Jin Hyung Lee, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Bioengineering
  • Mechanogenetics:  Ultrasound-triggered Cell-type-specific Brain Control.  Jin Hyung Lee, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Bioengineering; Jan Liphardt, Bioengineering
  • SC TRAP-Seq:Leveraging Sprectrally Encoded Beads to Enable High-throughput Single Cell Tandem RNA and Protein (SC-TRAP) Analysis in a Novel Assay as Applied to Glioblastoma. Polly Fordyce, Genetics, Bioengineering; Melanie Hayden Gephardt, Neurosurgery