Congratulations to TRP Senior Advisor & LMP Prof Avrum Gotlieb, on being one of four UofT researchers to receive the Connaught Global Challenge Award. The project will support the development of a Translational Hub, a collaborative community to mobilize knowledge & commercialization to improve impact on health & patient outcomes. Read an excerpt from UofT News below.
Professor Avrum Gotlieb, in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, will receive $247,000 to build capacity for translational research that enables scientific discoveries to move out of the lab and into the real world, where they can improve patient care, health-care policy and products like pharmaceuticals.
Gotlieb, whose academic research is focused on cardiovascular disease, is also a senior program adviser with U of T’s Translational Research Program, which seeks to move knowledge “towards mechanisms, techniques and approaches that support the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.”
The Connaught award will support the development and implementation of a Translational Hub – a community dedicated to educational programs, research collaborations and community-building that’s focused on knowledge mobilization and commercialization to improve impact on health and patient outcomes.
“Creation of a community to provide support and infrastructure at the U of T will expedite the growth and development of our local translational infrastructure and its global reach,” said Gotlieb in his project description.
Read about the 2019 winners of the Connaught Global Challenge Award.
#UofTMed TRP Student Profile – Sydney Taylor
MHSc Translational Research Candidate, 2nd year
Why Faculty of Medicine?
I have always had an interest in medicine and healthcare. The Faculty of Medicine at UofT offers an array of programs that best suit my graduate needs and provides support for me to further develop my professional skills. Two of the largest influencing factors for me were the reputation of the university and the numerous opportunities for collaboration amongst the students within the faculty.
Why the Translational Research Program?
After completing my Bachelor of Kinesiology, I knew that I wanted more control over the direction of my graduate degree. The TRP provides us with the tools we need to develop and complete a collaborative capstone project, as well as challenges us to approach problems within health care differently. We are exposed to the numerous facets within the health care ecosystem, which provides me with the ability to further develop areas of interest and increase my understanding of how the system can be changed.
Current Research Experience
Four months as a research analyst at the Toronto General Research Institute and previous four months inputting patient data during a student work term placement at a biomechanics lab.
Future Education Plans and/or Career Goals
One of the main reasons I applied for the TRP was to pursue my passion regarding women’s reproductive health. Upon completing my graduate degree, I will continue to pursue opportunities within this space. My personal experiences combined with the learnings from the program have increased my awareness of the current gaps within this field and the possibilities to address these gaps. My overall goal is to improve the experience of women during their reproductive years.
Feb 4, 2019
By: Brianne Tulk, Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto
Leaders in the basic sciences, clinical epidemiology and patient care discussed how best to translate research into new treatments for patients at a recent event presented by the Department of Medicine and the newly established Eureka HUB for Translational Research.
Called TR Talk, the event drew an interdisciplinary audience made up of researchers, clinicians, health practitioners and health innovators. Facilitated by graduate students from the Translational Research Program, it featured a panel discussion followed by smaller group discussions.
The panelists offered diverse perspectives on the barriers of translating research to humans, and also the opportunities of translational research.
“The great questions come from listening to our patients,” said Dr. Gillian Hawker, Chair of the Department of Medicine. Hawker, who has a background as a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist, brought perspective from the frontlines of patient care and outlined some of the challenges that surround translating research to inform treatment options.
“Most of my patients have multiple conditions that aren’t represented in the clinical trials,” Hawker said. “The perfect patients aren’t the ones showing up at our doorsteps. Translation is about getting real world data.”
By way of example, Hawker explained that research can illustrate the use of stem cell therapy to treat arthritis, however that research may not be applicable if it doesn’t consider other factors that impact the patient, such as a person’s age, sex, weight or other health issues.
“A translational researcher needs to speak two languages,” explained Dr. Martin Offringa, a neonatologist and professor of paediatrics at U of T. “They need to understand the clinician perspective and the scientist perspective. They walk between different worlds.”
Dr. Ramsey Foty from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Dr. Thomas Prevot, Program Manager of the Drug Development Program in the Sibille Lab at CAMH, said some of the biggest barriers to translating research is moving it beyond the research paper and demonstrating applications for patients. For Foty, this includes repurposing a common drug for other uses.
“I’m teaching an old drug new tricks,” said Foty. “Some science isn’t ‘sexy,’ but it will make a difference to patients. So, how do you convince the ethics boards, the granting agencies, the pharmaceutical companies, that this pursuit is still worthwhile?”
“There is a barrier in moving your research past publication,” added Prevot. “A translational researcher needs a team of people with diverse expertise to go from discovery to pre-clinical studies, to clinical trials, to commercialization. Translation is too vast to be done alone.”
This TR Talk was one of a series of sessions hosted by the Translational Research Program in collaboration with Health Innovation Hub(H2i) and the Eureka Translational Hub this season. TR Talks are open to the public and are geared towards interprofessional clinicians, researchers and trainees to provoke discussion and community building.
Read the original article featured on the Faculty of Medicine website here.