Spectrum clinical research website updated
Content and navigational enhancements will help researchers locate mission-critical information, experts, scientific resources and forms.
Stanford University recently completed a major update to the Spectrum website. This website helps researchers with the complex process of conducting clinical and translational research. Enhancements to the website include:
· Improved site navigation and content organization
· A unified page for research-related forms, documents, budget workbooks, pricelists and templates
· Links to university-wide resources and consulting services for the design and conduct of research
· A dashboard for viewing all shared scientific core facilities across the university
· Information on Spectrum’s recently established Clinical Research Quality group, which provides advice on procedures, audits and the ClinicalTrials.gov registry
· Updates that reflect Spectrum’s recent organizational and leadership changes
Managed by Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education, this website is part of an ongoing effort to streamline and facilitate this type of research across the university.
The website update was informed by user focus groups and in-depth content review meetings with experts across the university. In addition, the website was moved from a standalone server to the School of Medicine servers and web authoring platform, to simplify maintenance and ensure reliability.
Staffer jumps back on the research track
An NIH career re-entry grant helps a Stanford blood scientist return to research after an interruption to care for family.
Anandi Krishnan, PhD, a blood and stroke research fellow at Duke University, was on the fast track to a promising academic research career. She had earned a PhD in bioengineering from Penn State in less than four years. She was the first author on 11 scientific papers. But a complicated pregnancy, an illness in her family, and taking time off to care for her newborn child derailed her best-laid plans. She feared that this extended leave might end her research career, until last year, when she was awarded an NIH career re-entry grant that enabled her to restart her research at Stanford.
After she returned from her hiatus in 2012, Krishnan and her husband, also a postdoctoral fellow, were already at a disadvantage in having to find two job openings at the same university. Faculty research positions are scarce and the competition for National Institutes of Health research grants is steep. To increase their odds of success, the couple decided to relocate to the job-rich San Francisco Bay Area. There, Krishnan took a staff position as the academic and research program officer at Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translation Research and Education, and she and her family settled into the city of Palo Alto.
At Stanford, Krishnan enjoyed her role in educating young scholars on clinical and translational research. But over time, she found herself missing hands-on research. Then, through Spectrum, she heard about a new career re-entry program funded by the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Award Program. She applied in 2016, and six months later, she had the funding to jump back on the research track.
Called a “re-entry supplement,” this NIH program funds the salary of talented investigators whose research careers have been interrupted for one to eight years for unanticipated reasons. Examples of qualifying interruptions could include child rearing, an incapacitating personal or family illness, a spousal relocation or military service.
“It was like the grant had been written specifically for my situation,” said Krishnan.
To apply, Krishnan first had to identify a mentor and lab space. Then she had to write a short research plan, draft a mentoring and career development plan, and obtain letters of support. Harry Greenberg, MD, Spectrum’s director, and Stanford faculty and staff rallied to help. James Zehnder, MD, a professor of pathology and of medicine, agreed to be her mentor. Once Krishnan was awarded the re-entry grant, the Pathology Department offered her an instructor position.
This time around, Krishnan decided to focus her research on looking for blood platelet gene markers in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms, called MPNs, blood cancers where too many white or red blood cells or platelets are produced in the body. Such markers could be used to diagnose and assess treatments in MPN patients.
“Platelets are understudied when it comes to blood cancers,” said Anandi. “They aren’t simply sacks of glue that stop bleeding.”
Jason Gotlib, MD, MS, a Stanford hematologist and an MPN expert, is also advising her on her research and providing her with staff support for access to his MPN patient data registry. In addition, several additional Cancer Institute staff members are assisting her in the processing of new patient samples and the analysis of genetic data.
Krishnan is thrilled to be back on the research track, and is busy working in her new lab and expanding her bioinformatics skills. As she concludes her first year since receiving the re-entry grant, she’s putting the finishing touches on a new research paper and using her preliminary data to apply for additional research grants. (She was recently awarded a departmental grant to continue her current investigation.)
“I am thankful to the various Stanford faculty and staff who helped me secure this unique opportunity and look forward to guiding the careers of others who might be navigating similar life-related interruptions,” says Krishnan.
Story by Kris Newby. Photo from Anandi Krishnan.