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

  • A Systemic Light Source for Optogenetic Screening of Enteric Nervous System Functions. Guosong Hong, Ph.D., Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Julia Kaltschmidt, Ph.D., Department of Neurosurgery
  • An Integrated Milli-Fluidic System for Automated Tissue Dissociation into Single Cells. James D. Brooks, M.D., Department of Urology - Divisions; Sindy Kam-Yan Tang, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Breaking the Barriers to Discovering Biologics Against Membrane ProteinsLe Cong, Ph.D., Departments of Pathology and Genetics; Liang Feng, Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • Development of a Photo-Enzymatic 3D Bioprinter for Pediatric Tissue Engineered Vascular Grafts. Steven G. Boxer, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry; Michael Ma, M.D., Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery; Mark A. Skylar-Scott, Ph.D., Department of Bioengineering
  • Fluorescent Lifetime Imaging Microscopy of Mitochondria-Rich Extracellular Vesicles for Direct Augmentation of Myocardial BioenergeticsMark A. Kasevich, Ph.D., Departments of Physics and Applied Physics; Soichi Wakatsuki, Ph.D., Departments of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Structural Biology, and Energy Sciences; Phillip C. Yang, M.D., Department of Medicine - Med/Cardiovascular Medicine