Translational careers

Nancy Andrews, John E. Burris, Thomas R. Cech, Barry S. Coller, William F. Crowley Jr., Elaine K. Gallin, Katrina L. Kelner, Darrell G. Kirch, Alan I. Leshner, Cynthia D. Morris, Freddy T. Nguyen, Jim Oates, Nancy S. Sung. Science 2009-05-15

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POWERED BY THE COMPUTATIONAL MUSCLE OF BIOINFORMATICS AND THE BROAD PERSPECTIVE of systems biology, advances in biomedical science now have the capacity to transform medicine. Yet to fully realize the health benefits of new scientific insight, we must ensure a vibrant flow of information between the basic sciences and clinical medicine. This takes both systems and people. The U.S. government has made an unprecedented investment in the infrastructure required to support a new generation of translational researchers. Through the Clinical and Translational Science Award program (CTSA), the National Institutes of Health has created a national consor- tium that already includes 39 centers in 23 states with an annual funding commitment of $500 million by 2012. Still in its infancy, this initiative seeks to shorten the time required to translate research results into therapies by many means, including training researchers and providing them with an academic home, developing tools for clinical research, streamlining regulatory processes, and fostering interdisciplinary and interinstitutional research. The potential is clear. But people are the prerequisite for success. We need an array of inno- vative investigators whose expertise spans all the disciplines of basic discovery and medical science. As a counterpoint to federal efforts, our private, nonprofit organizations have addressed the human capital need in robust ways, training and funding physicians and other clinical scientists, and piloting models for interdisciplinary graduate training involving biologists, physical and computational scientists and engineers, as well as a wide range of clinical and public health professionals.
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