Advances in our knowledge of biological systems, together with a rapid increase in ourunderstanding of the molecular and genetic basis of human illness, are providing unprecedented opportunities for advances in the field of medicine. As part of the School of Medicine’s emphasis on translational research, the CMGM joined with the School of Medicine to establish the Interdisciplinary Translational Research Program (ITRP). Eight ITRP projects were funded in 2002 for a 3-year period and an additional eight projects were funded in 2005. In 2004, a special round of ITRP awards were made in support of cancer research with a gift from the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund in Cancer Research. These eight special cancer research projects were awarded in 2004 for a 2-year period and were completed in 2006. In 2008, the Beckman Center joined with the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation, and Infection and the Mary Hewitt Loveless, M.D., Endowment to award eight new 2-year grants in the field of Immunology.
The primary goal of the Interdisciplinary Translational Research Program is to stimulate collaborations across multiple disciplines and forge a meaningful interface between the basic 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 physician-investigator, a basic scientist, and at least one trainee. Applications for ITRP awards are drawn from a broad pool. The eight ITRP awards made in 2005 were selected from an outstanding group of 38 program-project applications submitted by 85 faculty members drawn from 4 of the 7 schools at Stanford and representing 28 separate disciplines. Likewise, the eight 2-year grants awarded in 2008 were drawn from a large pool of outstanding applications.
ITRP projects have resulted in promising outcomes that include significant research data, published papers, grant and patent applications, and media coverage.