Bridging the Gap for Medical Technologies at Annual Translational Science Day

Past Tides
May 14, 2019 By Grace Wood

Digital health is a growing industry with more than $30 billion in investments, according to Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and former director of the UCI Beckman Laser Institute (BLI). Innovations like digital health play a large part in research translation and clinical application – the central focus of “Pathways to Cures: Clinical Translational Research Day at UCI.”

The annual UCI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) event – which celebrates medical technology translation through speeches, panels, workshops and presentations – introduced medical research projects and technology development at the Cove @ UCI Applied Innovation.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) program, UCI ICTS focuses on the acceleration of scientific discovery and medical advancements from lab to application.

“ICTS has supported 16,000 visits in its clinical research program and its scholars and trainees have produced over 1,000 publications, which, of course, is the bread and butter of what we do in research,” said Pramod Khargonekar, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research, UCI Office of Research, in his introduction.

After event presentations, event attendees attend poster and oral presentations. Photo: Yuxin Cha

In his keynote speech, Tromberg commended the strong leadership from UCI ICTS, Applied Innovation, BLI and the UCI administration and noted the multiple health innovation centers on campus – like the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute or the Cancer Research Institute.

“When I talk about the UCI ICTS, everyone recognizes that it has some very special features, very special characteristics,” said Tromberg. “That score is no accident. It’s really truly well deserved. What you’re doing here, sometimes you don’t see it, but it’s so unique, so important compared to other places around the country.”

Following Tromberg’s speech, a panel of experts comprised of Dan Cooper, Ph.D., founding director of ICTS; Stanton Rowe, CEO of NXT Biomedical; Jaime Landman, Ph.D., chair of the UCI Medical Center’s Department of Urology; and Carolyn Stephens, Ph.D., managing director, enterprise collaboration at Applied Innovation discussed a question central to research translation: “Does Academia Stifle Innovation?”

“We’ve all noticed that this is not something that academic health centers are born to do,” said Cooper. “I certainly remember, not too long ago, when the gap between commercialization and academia was wide and not to be crossed. If you were an academic person, your job was to write a paper and let the rest of the world figure out what to do with it.”

The panelists answered audience questions and explored the ways an academic institution like UCI could foster translatable ideas and cohesively work with industry.
After the panel discussion, audience members, made up of students, faculty and researchers alike, headed to Applied Innovation’s second building for poster displays of UCI ICTS researchers’ latest experiments and discoveries. Onlookers learned about insights on everything from the spread of the influenza virus in college dorms to the effect of a time-restricted eating approach.

See more photos of the event here.

*Cover photo: Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and former director of UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute, talks about leadership at UCI. Photo: Yuxin Cha

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