This program was founded on the concept that translational investigators can be trained through substantial yet concise cross-training in the alternate research discipline to their own primary research focus.
Each translational investigator has a primary discipline – either basic science or clinical investigation – and that training is enhanced with better knowledge of the background, approaches, methodologies, and challenges related to the other discipline.
For a basic researcher, translational training involves establishing a working understanding of the principles and research methodology of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics. For the clinical investigator, translational training comprises of learning what basic research methodologies are available and the types of questions these methods can address as well as developing a working knowledge of the biology of inflammation, lung injury, and repair.
This training promotes the cross-fertilization of ideas, better formulation of appropriate translational research questions, and novel approaches to translational research.
This approach allows basic research advances to be more rapidly translated into clinical trials and significant clinical benefits and ultimately leads to more relevant basic science inquiries.
What Translational Research Training Offers
Our training program for translational investigators is comprised of five elements:
- Research training in trainee’s primary discipline
- Cross-training in the alternate research discipline
- Development of a research project that includes a translational research component
- Mentoring by a committee with membership reflecting the scope of the translational research project
- Enhancement of the research environment to emphasize translational research
Research Works In Progress (RWIP) Conference
A key component of translational research training is to have access to a forum where clinical and basic investigators can meet to discuss research in progress.
We currently hold two research works-in-progress sessions – one dedicated to clinical researchers, the other to basic science researchers.
The goals of the works-in-progress sessions are to:
- Provide fellows and faculty with a supportive environment in which to present ongoing research projects for critical evaluation and discussion
- Provide a forum to present research proposals and preliminary results
- Provide fellows with experience critiquing the work of their colleagues.
Fellows interested in translational research attend and participate in both sessions in order to gain facility in the “vocabulary” and methods of the research area that is the alternative to their primary research track, to obtain additional experience evaluating both forms of research, and to facilitate the creation and refinement of translational research projects.
Translational Journal Club
Held once a month, Journal Club is directed by a basic science investigator and clinical researcher. The faculty recommend pairs of articles that explore the same disease from complementary scientific perspectives.
One fellow is assigned to present each article and these two work together prior to Journal Club to coordinate their presentations.
Designated faculty with expertise in the disease or research method provide guidance to help the fellows recognize and address important concepts. The faculty members also moderate the discussion to illustrate the bridges between the basic and clinical ideas in the two articles.
These discussions make active consideration and promotion of translational research part of our culture.
All fellows within the Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship will have a formal mentoring committee, which provides overall career guidance and recommendations, as part of their training. These committees meet at least once a year to review the trainee’s self-stated short- and long-term training goals and his or her progress toward those goals.
The trainee’s primary mentor chairs the committee. Membership of the remainder of the committee generally consists of two additional faculty members with areas of research interest and expertise that are similar to the trainee’s primary interest, one faculty member in an unrelated research field (to provide perspective), and one faculty representing the administration of the research training program.
Each trainee in the Translational Research Training Program has a secondary translational research training mentor. This mentor is a faculty member in the alternate research discipline who is involved in the trainee’s translational research project.
The secondary mentor serves on the mentoring committee and prepares an addendum to the committee’s report that specifically focuses on the progress made by the trainee toward translational research training goals.