Media Contacts

Melinda Rogers

Communications Specialist , University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs

Jan 13, 2014 3:40 PM

Researchers at the University of Utah have been collaboratively working to turn groundbreaking ideas in medicine into productive patient outcomes for 50 years this month, a milestone that will be celebrated Jan.15 at an all-day event where the University of Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science will showcase work and advancements from its clinical services core to the community.

The University of Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science taps into the University of Utah’s strengths in genetics and bioinformatics to translate promising bench science into practices that improve health. It serves as an academic home for clinical and translational research, developing innovative health services for the community and health researchers, and training a new generation of clinical and translational investigators.  

The Center consists of eight core areas including biomedical informatics; clinical services; community outreach and collaboration; patient-centered outcomes research methods; recruitment, retention and safety; research education, training and career development; study design and biostatistics and translational technologies and resources. The 50th anniversary of the clinical services core observed on Jan.15 is a chance to highlight important research advances completed over the past several decades, said Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., MBA and University of Utah Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.

 “It’s a simple idea: To bring promising discoveries from the laboratory to patients in the clinic. But the reality is that path can be long and difficult. Transforming a discovery into a treatment often takes decades.  The clinical services core at the university has worked tirelessly to streamline that process,” said Lee. “The clinical services core continually evolves as serves as a catalyst for health care innovation.”

 James Kushner, former program director for the clinical services core, will speak about the program’s evolution at an external advisory board meeting on Jan.15 where the 50th anniversary will be celebrated. Kushner’s talk will take place from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Human Genetics Auditorium at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, 15 North 2300 East, on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. A video that outlines the history and accomplishments of the Center’s clinical services core is also available for viewing at:

Donald McClain, M.D. Ph.D., and Carrie Byington, M.D., —the Center’s directors —said the Center helps the University of Utah to continue to be an important voice in the broader discussion of improving the quality of health care while reducing costs. The 50th anniversary of the clinical services core is a chance to pause to recognize accomplishments made but also to focus on moving ahead with more important research in the future.

"The importance of this Center to the State of Utah is that it brings resources together that support the full range of clinical research, from basic discovery science to how research findings are best implemented into the practices of our community physicians. The Center facilitates the communication among all of our stakeholders, so that investigators making basic discoveries can speak with experts in turning those discoveries into new cures or diagnostics, and they in turn can speak to experts in partnering with industry to get the products to market,” said McClain, who besides overseeing the Center, serves as Associate Vice President for Clinical and Translational Science, the Bettilyon Chair in Diabetes Research and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Utah.

“As we reflect on our 50-year history, we are so grateful to those who came before us and the foundation of excellence that they started,” added Byington, the H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development and Vice Chair for the Research Enterprise, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah. “That rich history that allows us to move forward today with our partners confidently to accelerate our discoveries into better health.”

The Center’s track record of success last fall earned it a $20.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that will allow it to provide support for all aspects of translational research over the next five years. The University of Utah was just one of 15 institutions in the U.S. selected in the fall to receive an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award or CTSA and is one of 62 prestigious universities across the country to house a program.

 By 2018, the Center has a number of goals it wants to meet, including:

  • Increasing the quality, quantity, safety, efficiency and impact of translational research for all conditions.
  • Providing resources and services to support and speed clinical and translational research of all kinds.
  • Training, mentoring and supporting the next generation of translational investigators to become principal investigators and productive faculty members.
  • Creating a leadership structure that represents all aspects of translational science.
  • Engaging in a process of continuous evaluation, improvement and innovation in all of these areas.
  • Proving special expertise to a CTSA consortium in the areas of human genetics, genotype/phenotype correlation, health services research including comparative effectiveness, medical device innovation, and the development of electronic health records as tools for medical care and research.

Learn more about the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

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