Buffalo Translational Consortium News
If you’re asking a primary care provider to partner in your research, says 2016 UNYTE Scientific Session keynote speaker Chester Fox, MD, then you need to remember the buffet line analogy: You’re asking someone to add an apple to a plate that’s most likely already full, which means something else is going to have to come off. And that can be asking a lot.
Nobody knows that better than “Chet” Fox, a practicing family physician himself who has also made clinical research a cornerstone of his career as a professor in the Department of Family Medicine in UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science. He sees patients at an urban medical office with a mostly minority patient base, he’s principal investigator on a large NIH grant, and he’s director of the regional Upstate New York Practice-Based Research Network (UNYNET), a Buffalo Translational Consortium partner institution. The study he’s currently overseeing seeks to improve the recognition and treatment of chronic kidney disease by primary care physicians using up-to-date health information technology.
The UNYTE Translational Research Network, University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute and UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Award co-sponsored the 2016 Scientific Session at the Clinical and Translational Research Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in downtown Buffalo on November 7. About 70 faculty, physicians and students attended the day-long event, which featured three guest speakers in addition to the keynote address.
Which costs are considered “direct” and which are “indirect” according to the most common federal grant programs? What are the reporting requirements for modular versus itemized budgets? Can you include allowances for travel, conferences, postage or publishing costs in your budget?
These are among the topics that were covered in the inaugural Professional Development Workshop Series sponsored by the Community of Scholars (COS) under the KL2 Mentored Career Development Program (linked to UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Award) in early November.
The COS brings together junior scientists and clinicians for professional development activities, visits to community centers, seminars by role models, and other activities to enhance career success.
“Our goal is to provide our scholars with opportunities for career advancement -- to complement and synergize mentoring activities and state-of-the-art clinical and translational research,” said Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Senior Associate Dean for Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement, and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (JSMBS).
COS is co-chaired by Kim Griswold, MD, MPH, RN, associate professor in the JSMBS Department of Family Medicine; KL2 scholars Ellen Volpe, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor in the school of nursing, and Nikhil Satchidanand, PhD, associate professor in Family Medicine; and Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor.
The COS Professional Development Workshop series supports postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty to become independent funded investigators in clinical and translational research, which is a fundamental goal of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).
Participants who attended the workshop received valuable information and advice from two experts on federal requirements, grant management and spending money wisely. Erin Bailey, MSM, CRA, who is chief financial officer of the CTSA, and Timothy Schailey, MS, director of the Office of Research Administration at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, presented “Managing Your Grant Budget” to a group of about 20 junior faculty and investigators who are engaged in, or hoping to start, clinical research projects.
“We want to help investigators create effective budget proposals that comply with sponsor and institutional guidelines before the award,” said Bailey, “and to manage that budget effectively once they receive the award.”
A recurring theme of the presentation was the importance of writing detailed budget justifications into a grant proposal up front to reflect, as accurately as possible, the actual funding needed to carry out the proposed research once those expenses are reported in the corresponding budget.
The next workshop in the series is scheduled for November 23. “How to Navigate Resources at Hand in the CTSA Clinical Research Office” will be presented by Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor and chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the VA WNY Healthcare System and director of UB’s Clinical Research Office (CRO). Topics include clinical trial protocol development, IRB submission review, coverage analysis evaluation and CRO consultations. The workshop will be held in 339 Cary Hall on the south campus from 12 to 1 p.m. (Register on line by November 20.)
The Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) Mentored Career Development Program announced the presentation of two Mentored Career Development Awards in October. Umesh Sharma, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Jason Muhitch, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Urology and Department of Immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, were the recipients.
Said Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of pharmacology and toxicology: “The Mentored Career Development Program provides a unique opportunity to junior faculty to acquire skills and excel in clinical and translational research while navigating their way to successful careers in biomedicine.”
Sharma will be working on his translational research project, “Risk Prediction of Ischemia-Induced Sudden Cardiac Arrest,” in collaboration with research mentor John Canty, Jr., MD, a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine who is chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, director of the CTSA Translational Imaging Center and deputy director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center.
The project hypothesizes that, in repetitive myocardial ischemia, upregulation of galectin-3-induced cardiac fibrosis provides substrate for the development of lethal cardiac arrhythmias. Advanced MRI imaging techniques used to spot that kind of fibrosis will help identify patients who are at higher risk of developing cardiac arrest, and early detection will help physicians employ successful therapeutic strategies for these high-risk patients. With promising preliminary results that demonstrate the feasibility of such an approach in pre-clinical models, Sharma’s research project has potentially far-reaching impact among high-risk patients in the Buffalo-Niagara community.
Sharma earned his medical degree at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, and his PhD at the University of Maastricht. He completed his residency at Chicago Medical School and his fellowship at the University of Louisville and Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the Department of Urology as faculty.
Muhitch’s BTC research project, “Capitalizing on Elevated Non-Classical Monocytes in African American Cancer Patients to Improve Responses to Immunotherapy,” tests the idea that African American renal cell carcinoma patients with high circulating levels of non-classical monocytes are more likely to respond to immunotherapy protocols. In collaboration with research mentor James Mohler, MD, Muhitch will also evaluate whether classical monocytes from African Americans are more sensitive to cytokine stimulation. These findings could have an immediate impact on African American renal cell carcinoma patients who could benefit from immunotherapy if a reliable biomarker is elucidated.
Mohler is the associate director and senior vice president for Translational Research, chair of the Department of Urology and a professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a professor of Urology in UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and an adjunct professor of surgery and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Muhitch earned his PhD in immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and completed post-doctoral training in Urologic Oncology at Roswell Park before joining as faculty in the Department of Urology.
The goal of the BTC Mentored Career Development Awards is to help postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty become independently funded clinical and translational investigators under the guidance of an experienced mentor. BTC scholars receive support to cover partial salary and research, tuition and travel costs for up to two years. The funding is provided through the BTC.
Preference for funding awards is given to research that brings novel approaches towards reducing health disparities in clinical populations and applicants with experiences or attributes which increase diversity in the clinical and translational workforce. Those goals align with the overall aims of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), which serves as the hub of the BTC.
More information about the BTC Mentored Career Development Awards, including directions for applying, can be found on the CTSA website.
Seminars held first Thursday of the month
Rooms 5019 A & B
875 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
Pre-reception at 3:30 p.m. in the 5th floor atrium
ACADEMIC YEAR 2016-17
Global Burden of Diarrhea: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Prevention
Oscar Gómez, MD, PhD
Department of Pediatrics Clinical Associate Professor and Chief, Infectious Diseases
Carbohydrates as Reporters and Regulators of Disease
Sriram Neelamegham, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Co-Director of the UB Center for Biomedical Engineering
Why Have So Many Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials Failed?
David Poulsen, PhD
Department of Neurosurgery Professor of Translational Neuroscience
Enough Already! Why We Age and How We Stop It
Kenneth Seldeen, PhD
Department of Medicine Research Assistant Professor
Women in Science Month
Kristina Seiffert-Sinha, MD
Department of Dermatology Research Assistant Professor
Ciprian Ionita, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering Research Assistant Professor
Ferdinand Schweser, PhD
Department of Neurology Assistant Professor of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering and Technical Director of MRI