Smith is part of a wide-scale effort through the campus’s Institute for
Clinical & Translational Science to develop, nurture and guide research that
provides insights and solutions to health issues. Work supported by the ICTS
ranges from analyzing the effects of exercise on children to tempering the
complications of stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Directed by Dr. Dan Cooper, professor and chair of pediatrics, the ICTS was
founded with a $20 million grant from the National Center for Advancing
Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Committed to transforming ideas into medical reality, the institute provides
myriad services to campus and community researchers; a Smith-led unit, for
example, provides consultation on the design of experiments and data
interpretation related to human genetics and genomics.
To broadly highlight
opportunities and achievements, the ICTS co-hosts an annual Clinical Translational Research Day at UC Irvine’s Student
Center. The event – open to all faculty, staff and students –
offered workshops and poster sessions designed to identify resources and build
collaborations between UC Irvine researchers and community organizations
involved with public health.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, president of the Lasker Foundation,
discussed “HIV Medical Research: Transforming Lives & Shaping World Health.”
A longtime advocate for patients with HIV/AIDS, Pomeroy was formerly dean of the
UC Davis School of Medicine and that campus’s vice chancellor for human health
“What’s exciting about Clinical Translational Research Day is meeting all the
other investigators,” says Lisa Twachtmann Hinojosa, ICTS manager of research
operations and communications. “It’s the day to break out of our silos, network,
and build new and fruitful collaborations.”
One clinical researcher benefiting from ICTS support is Dr. Brian Wong,
professor of otolaryngology and biomedical engineering, who works with different
companies throughout the U.S. to define and develop technologies for treating
disorders of the head, neck and upper airway.
“The ICTS is an incredible infrastructure organization at UC Irvine,” says
Wong, who was honored as the institute’s 2013 Clinical Translational Scientist
of the Year. “It provides a very high profile among UC Irvine and the greater
medical device community to create partnerships.”
He cites Ryan Leary, a
medical student working in his Beckman Laser Institute lab who’s pursuing a
master’s degree in biomedical & translational science.
“The ICTS has helped Ryan develop a surgical planning software program that
aims to take the guesswork out of a lot of facial procedures,” Wong says.
Hinojosa notes that such assistance is especially important in today’s
sequestration-driven federal research funding environment.
“With looming budget cuts and possible staff losses,” she says, “we urge the
UC Irvine biomedical researcher community to learn more about the ICTS, because
we may have the support they’ll need.”